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Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

SMD Textiles/ILIV is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: ILIV

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte

Duravit_Cape_Cod_small_bathroom_02

Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

The hallmark of the Cape Cod smaller bathroom program is the perfect fusion of material and form to satisfy even the highest aesthetic standards, including those from designer Philippe Starck…

Duravit_Cape_Cod_small_bathroom_02

The untamed nature of New England’s Cape Cod region inspired Philippe Starck to create a bathroom range composed of elements that rejuvenate body and soul.

The elegant bathroom opens up a whole host of design options, especially for smaller bathrooms. With its innovative design for the washing area, Starck creates sheer elegance and a generous sense of space that exudes an inviting calmness. The combination of a 70cm-wide, gleaming white ceramic furniture washbasin with a floor standing chrome frame and integrated shelf in White High Gloss introduces a brand-new look to the bathroom.

Practical, easy-clean shelf areas adjoin the circular basin on the left and right. Minimalistic mirrors with all-round LED lighting add the perfect finishing touch to the washing area.

Another new element is a smaller version of the striking, freestanding bathtub in space-saving dimensions of 165 x 78cm. Like the larger variants,it is also made from the tried-and-tested, high- quality DuraSolid material, is pleasantly warm to the touch, and has a sophisticated matt appearance. A smoothly shaped headrest set into the backrest guarantees relaxed comfort when reclining and bathing.

The series can be combined with Starck T accessories and selected toilets and bidets from the Starck 1, Starck 2, and ME by Starck ranges for a thoroughly stylish and harmonious look. The SensoWash Starck f shower toilet offers maximum hygiene and comfort. This symbiosis of toilet and bidet provides gentle, natural cleansing with water.

Duravit is one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Duravit

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image credit: Soho House

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a panel discussion with leading designers and architects entitled: Floor 20, room 31, which virtually checked in to the hotel experience 10 years from now…

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

On February 23, 2021, Hotel Designs‘ editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host the third instalment of Hotel Designs LIVE, which launched last year with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

  • Floor 20, room 31, checking in 10 years from now
  • Sustainability, beneath the surface
  • Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design
  • A new era of wellness

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place while adhering to the current lockdown regulations and kickstarted with an editor’s welcome from Kilburn who explained the need for the virtual event. “The industry’s new swear word, Covid-19, has temporarily brought hospitality and tourism to its knees, but in these challenging times we have seen the real power of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers all working together to invent and implement meaningful solutions,” he said. “Hotel Designs LIVE was born in those confusing times, and our aim is simple: to create conversations unlike any other and keep the industry connected.”

The first session of the day, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, was designed to look ahead towards what hospitality and hotel design will look and feel like one decade on from today, and was curated to confront recent cultural shifts that have smudged the sketches, so to speak, as to what the hotel of the future will look like.

On the panel: 

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel how accurate previous predictions were regarding the ‘hotel room of the future’. It was concluded that the word ‘experience’, in all sectors of hotel design, was used 10 years ago in order to meet the then new demand among modern travellers who were expecting a deeper and more purposefully driven hospitality journey. Related to this, a new era of luxury lifestyle brands started to emerge to blur the lines in luxury travel, which, following the most testing year the hospitality arena has experienced in modern times, takes us to where we are now.

When the conversation turned to technology, interior designer Martin Goddard led the discussion to argue that moving forward, he expects modern travellers will be burnt out by technology and hotel design in many areas will encourage human connection once more as well as injecting meaningful sense of location, which was evident in Hotel Designs’ recent hotel review of The Mayfair Townhouse, which Goddard Littlefair recently completed steering clear to reference obvious clichés in the design. “One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received from that hotel is that it always felt like a cosy winter’s day,” Goddard said.

Interior designer Albin Burglund was able to offer a unique perspective when it came to predicting the future of hotel design from both a luxury design as well as a wellness perspective. “I agree with Martin that the industry will be cautious to inject technology,” he explained, “and this will largely follow consumers putting more of a focus on their own personal wellness and wellbeing.”

Chris Lee injected qualitative research into the discussion following a campaign he and his team completed last year for Sleep & Eat, which involved collaboration with Chalk ArchitectureHotel Hussy and students from the University of West London, presenting an interactive render for a ‘2035 guestroom of the future’ based on the groups prestigious upscale Wyndham brand. As well as the project “capturing the imagination” of the modern traveller, the guestroom design and layout challenged conventional hotel rooms – and despite the focus being largely on the ‘Gen-Z traveller’, the product was actually carefully designed for all generations as it allowed guests to select their own scene settings to reflect their mood or preferred environment. Following research into understanding the DNA of the hotel guestroom experience, technology had to be seamlessly blended in to the design scheme.

The discussion soon veered towards Covid-19 and specifically the pandemic’s impact on future design and hospitality. Rob Steul, with more than 20 years’ experience in architecture and design, used the upcoming luxury hotel in Leicester Square, The Londoner, as a prime example of how the industry’s already high standards put hospitality design in good stead for when hospitality and travel returns in the post-pandemic world. “Long before Covid-19, we had already considered elements such as air flow,” he explained. Burglund agreed while also questioning the short-term purposes of event spaces and questioned how these could be utilised and used during what has no-doubt been a testing time for hospitality worldwide.

Here’s a highlights video of the panel discussion, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Chelsom, PENT Fitness, Blueair and Yeames Hospitality.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Sustainability, beneath the surface’; ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Bringing colour to bathroom design with RAK-Feeling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bringing colour to bathroom design with RAK-Feeling

To kickstart our editorial series putting bathrooms under the spotlight, we hear from RAK Ceramics how personality, warmth and character can be injected into the bathroom by simply introducing colour…

For a long time, the focus for sanitaryware has been starkly white, but things are changing. While we remain a long way from the avocado greens, electric blues and candy pinks of the 1980s, wall-to-wall white and chrome bathrooms are also seeing a change-up, with a return to colour. Soft pastels and muted shades are increasingly being seen on sanitaryware.

A pastel designed bathroom

image credit: RAK Ceramics

Less clinical than an all-white bathroom, these pops of colour can be scaled up or down to meet individual requirements. It is not necessary, for example, to choose an entire suite of sanitaryware in a single colourway; a washbasin bowl in cappuccino can add colour and visual interest to a bathroom while being enhanced by more traditional white pieces elsewhere, an idea that works particularly well in smaller spaces.

 

Coloured sanitaryware also works in harmony with brassware finishes other than chrome, giving designers greater choice and creative freedom. Colour doesn’t need to mean bold and bright and in this instance the trend takes a far subtler approach, with nature-inspired tones that serve to add character while creating a relaxed and tranquil vibe.

Using black is a popular way of adding a sense of drama to the bathroom, for example. This is a stylish and sophisticated colour palette that is very easy to match with other shades, going darker in large spaces and lighter in compact settings. A black basin can easily be combined with matt black brassware for the basin bath and shower, for instance, for a co-ordinated look that is far from overbearing.

RAK Ceramics is the first manufacturer in the UK to launch colour into its portfolio with intent, with the introduction of RAK-Feeling; a complete collection of shower trays, enclosures and valves, washbasins, brassware, WCs and bidet, made with innovative materials and available in a range of colours.

Alongside Matt White, the range is also available in Matt Greige, Matt Cappuccino, Matt Grey and Matt Black.

RAK-Feeling countertop wash basins with slim edges will enhance any modern bathroom and are finished with an exclusive matt glaze, matching exactly with RAK-Feeling shower trays. Designed to create a spa-like finish with elegant and contemporary lines the flush-to-the-floor shower trays are made of RAKSOLID, a durable material composed of a mixture of natural minerals and resins, with an anti-slip smooth finish.

Since you’re here, why not read more about RAK Ceramic’s RAK-Saint?

The perfectly colour matched WCs and bidet and beautiful brassware offer the perfect final touch. RAK-Feeling is where quality and harmony merge with functionality to create a bathroom of the utmost comfort, in colour.

RAK Ceramics is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: RAK Ceramics

Image of Steve ESDAILE

5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

With an ever-evolving, burning demand among modern travellers to check into spaces that ooze personality, design and art work in tandem, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews interior designer Steve Esdaile when establishing art’s role in tomorrow’s hotel design…

Image of Steve ESDAILE

Esdaile Design is rapidly making a name for itself with interiors featuring bespoke art commissions at the heart of the designs. These stunning focal points that always provide an element of surprise are something of a signature of founder Steve Esdaile. From private residences and hotels to commercial and retail spaces, Esdaile is keen to add what he simply calls an element of personality.

These artworks wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery, so what inspired Steve to incorporate them into his designs? We took five minutes of his time to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: You’re a designer by trade but where did your interest in bespoke art commissions start?

Steve Esdaile: As an art and design graduate, I’ve always loved making things and really love the environment of an artisan workshop. This has extended into my design work where I enjoy bringing to life original and previously unrealised pieces of work. Given my interest in skilled art and craft, when I’m employed to present ‘standard’ products, I look to artists and craftspeople to add an element of ‘bespoke’ to the settings.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

HK: Where do the ideas come from and how do you find craftspeople to work with?

SE: The ideas for projects are usually client-led initially. I’ll try and provoke a train of thought in the brief process – which could be an interest, reference point or emotion that the client would like to realise in the commission. And the craftspeople we work with tend to come via a recommendation from my existing contacts. Obviously, the internet can yield a broad scope of ideas and potential, but narrowing the field takes time and experience, and knowing what questions to ask is critical. My background in workshop manufacture is invaluable, as I understand the information a craftsperson requires. The best results tend to come from asking someone to do what they do best.

Image caption: Bedroom of a master suite in a Thames-side property. The monochrome hand-painted wallpaper in the bedroom was commissioned directly from the studio of a Chinese artist, and brings an exotic depth of field to the space.

HK: Can you give us as an idea of the range of materials and techniques you’ve incorporated into your designs?

SE: Within one Thames-side residence, I incorporated no fewer than five bespoke art pieces. For example, in the master bedroom, I commissioned a monochrome hand-painted wallpaper directly from the studio of a Chinese artist. The design brought an exotic depth of field to the space. Then in the ensuite, a Crinoid sea-lily fossil plaque from the Lower Jurassic Period in the shower enclosure and a bespoke mosaic floor panel with fish motif add decoration that reflects and celebrates the riverside location.

HK: And any favourites among those projects?

SE: In the study library of that same project, we commissioned a 5 x 2m stone relief that forms a backdrop to the external lightwell. It depicts the battle between Rama and Ravana, from the Ramanyana and was hand-crafted by a Cambodian carver. My favourite aspect of the project is the sheer beauty of the carving as a backdrop to the interior space. Every time I revisit the property, I’m struck by the fact that I have to stop and take it in for a moment. It makes me appreciate all the individuals who were involved and the relationships that developed within the process. I love the fact that the end result is unique and somewhat unexpected in the environment. Though if you ask me again tomorrow, I may have a different answer – my current project is always my favourite!

HK: What added extra do you think art commissions bring to hotel and commercial spaces?

SE: Without doubt it adds both personality and charm to a space. In a small, boutique hotel, a commissioned piece is a great way to chime with the personality no doubt already on display. But it can also give the different hotels of a corporate brand an element of personality and individuality. After all, each piece is unique so can’t be replicated from one location to the next. In that way, a bespoke art commission can also really add a sense of place. 

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

HK: Are there any additional points to consider when creating artworks for commercial spaces that will inevitably have higher traffic than residential interiors?

SE: Yes, the work needs to have more impact visually to stand out in a public space. So, for example, stronger contrasts in the work mean a more impactful piece that will gain the attention it deserves. And, of course, in practical terms we need to choose materials that won’t wear or deteriorate with continual touch or use. Particularly as they’ll be subject to continual cleaning – they need to withstand whatever is thrown at them.

By contrast, in a residential setting, the owner will live with that piece for many years, so the subtleties and detail need to go deeper to be appreciated for longer. Also, the owner intrinsically knows the story the artwork is telling – in a commercial setting, the story needs to tell itself.

HK: What are you working on now – and what’s next?

SE: I’m currently working on a stunning bespoke Zellige mosaic from Morocco, orientated around a 48-point star design, widely considered the queen of traditional mosaic work. I particularly enjoy the geometry, and how the simple lines and coloured polygons knit together to make such a rich and complex visual tapestry. I’ve also recently been pursuing an interest in traditional Japanese Hakone marquetry, and looking at ways of applying this within more contemporary applications. I’m always looking to future, though, and I suppose the dream next project would be to create something that I had no idea was possible!

Main image credit: Esdaile Design

A modern interior design of a kitchen

How surface design can elevate guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How surface design can elevate guest experience

With public healthcare in the spotlight like never before, the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging hoteliers to rethink the entire guest experience. Here we hear from Harris Jackson on the role of surface design…

A modern interior design of a kitchen

From bringing the outside in to focusing on building a sense of community, wellness is high on the agenda for many brands as they look for new ways to connect with their customers and rebuild trust. And for good reason – according to a variety of data, consumer trust is at an all-time low.

Last year a study by End of Tenancy Cleaning Company, which surveyed almost 2,000 British travellers, found that 50 per cent of people do not trust hotel hygiene and over a third would avoid international travel for the next 12 months. Almost half of the people surveyed also said they would clean a hotel room themselves before using it. Research like this demonstrates the lack of confidence guests currently have and just how important safety and security is as a key message.

There are many ways hoteliers can respond to this and instil a sense of trust far beyond placing hand sanitisers in lobbies and installing perspex screens in the reception area. One way to elevate the customer experience and improve health and safety is through the design of surfaces.

Form and function

Beautiful design is about more than aesthetics, it’s about responding to customer needs and the current climate. There are a number of surface trends to look out for in 2021 (and beyond) that explore both form and function; sustainability, ventilation, flexibility and connecting to nature are all taking centre stage alongside technology that can improve public health.

Wellbeing is at the top of the agenda when it comes to design and we have seen this impact design trends before. In 1918, influenza impacted design by throwing more emphasis on light and air, and more minimal interiors (with heavier more cluttered interiors thought to be unhygienic). And now due to Covid-19 we are going to see another shift. It’s long been known that the surfaces we interact with can be transmitters for bacteria and some, such as E.Coli, can last for months on surfaces.

So how can hoteliers invest in surface technology to improve public health and the overall guest experience?

It can purify air

Some technologies are focusing on purifying air, such as Pureti’s photocatalytic applications. It utilises the natural process of plants. As well as purifying air it can also be applied to surfaces to help them stay cleaner for longer. Apparently this treatment has even been used by NASA! We know that air quality is so important for guest comfort and with many people seeking out less urban environments and a stronger connection to nature, technology like this could have far reaching benefits.

Pureti air purifying in a modern kitchen

Image credit: Pureti

Texture can limit transmission

The texture of surfaces can play a key role in not only the aesthetics of a room but in helping to eliminate viral transmission of bacteria. The Imperial College London looked at different textures and coatings and found that copper surfaces provide antibacterial protection, killing 99.9 per cent of bacteria within two hours. This raises some interesting ideas around materials used throughout the hotel environment, especially within heavy traffic areas such as lobbies and doorways.

Fabrics for more than comfort

New technology extends past hard surfaces and covers soft furnishings too; Aguaguard365 is an example of an antibacterial protection system for fabrics that helps keep textiles free of bacteria. From bed linens to towels, technology is constantly evolving.

A lounge that has been annotated to show furniture

Image credit: Aguaguard365

So as travel restrictions begin to lift and consumers consider staying away from home again, it’s clear that surface technology can do more than just elevate appearance – it can help to instil trust and boost confidence, something that’s crucial in the current climate.

Since you’re here, why not read Harris Jackson’s article on bringing the outside in & reconnecting with nature?

Harris Jackson is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Harris Jackson

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

New bathroom products from Gessi cater for designers trying to achieve masculine and feminine design aesthetics in wellness spaces. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

Variety is the spice of life, is the message we are receiving when hearing all about Gessi’s latest news. The bathroom brand has made a name for itself by challenging convention in wellness spaces – think spotlight shower and spa-like bathrooms. But it’s recent launch goes another step further to look at shapes, furnishings, and colours associated to both masculine and feminine spaces – all while putting an emphasis on modern traveller demands, such as hygiene and wellbeing.

“Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living.”

Continuing the tradition of transformation started in 2002 with Rettangolo and the Private Wellness Program introduction, Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living. Gessi’s Private Wellness Program’s mission is to create spaces of wellbeing in the bathroom. The brand has expanded on this concept to offer separate bathroom areas dedicated to men and women’s distinctly different needs. In this vision, “the woman and man of Gessi” are conscious inhabitants of the contemporary home seeking exclusive areas, totally dedicated and reserved for themselves.

Anello_Ambiente#726 copia

Image credit: Gessi

In a statement, the bathroom brand explains the contrasting demands for men and women when it comes down to bathroom design. “Contemporary men and women relish their rituals of personal care and the need for moments of isolation and relaxation to unwind from the day’s stress,” the statement said. “While both genders seek peace, rebalancing, and regeneration in the bath space, their habits and use of this vital environment remain substantially different. The increasingly restricted shared spaces of domestic life create the need for a decompression room. In answer to this need, Gessi has introduced coordinated furnishing elements that offer men and women divided environments of wellbeing, personalised for their personality, daily rituals and style.”

In Gessi’s vision, wellbeing is achieved in the “appropriation of one’s own space by choosing its shapes, furnishings, and colours”. So everyone feels comfortable in a habitat that has been exclusively created for him/her. Like fragrances, jewellery, or clothing, the new Anello and Ingranaggio collections are designed differently to celebrate each gender and make the bathroom a place that honours men and women’s unique needs.

The design of Ingranaggio has a masculine soul and speaks of essential vigour. It reminds us that we are the perfect mechanism of our existence with its elegant handle shaped like a toothed wheel, evoking a gear in motion. The energy of a moving clockwork ideally transfers to the environment and to the user of this collection.

Ingranaggio_Ambiente#187 copia

Image credit: Gessi

Meanwhile, the Anello design has the feminine elegance and modern grace of a jewel and is notable for its distinctive circular handle. As a symbol of infinity and love, the ring becomes the promise of lasting beauty in her setting of peace and wellbeing.

An downward facing view of modern bathroom products

Image credit: Gessi

Each collection offers a variety of models and finishes perfect for further personalisation of your environment – “Anello, the woman of Gessi” and “Ingranaggio, the man of Gessi.” Gessi’s vision is to revolutionise the bathroom with products designed for men and women’s individual tastes that can also be combined harmoniously or switched to satisfy individual tastes, so to create one room with distinct wellness spaces for each.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

Amsterdam-based interior designer Saar Zafrir joins editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss his latest project to redesign The ReMIX Hotel in paris as well as his wider mission to ’boutique-ify’ large corporate hotels…

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

2012 was a pivotal year for Saar Zafrir, who changed lanes from a 12-year career in finance to take a year off. The next 12 months prepared him to ‘get into the game’, taught by his own passion to become an interior design, at first starting small with friends and family but soon being offered a pathway into the hotel design arena. With a new focus on hospitality and F&B design, Zafrir’s approach was born; to transforming established corporate-style hotels and hospitality groups into fun and lively boutique brands that speak loudly to the growing demands of the modern traveller.

A rich narrative told in the interior design inside Sir Savigny Berlin

Image credit: Sir Savigny Berlin

In fact, in less than a decade, the designer has catapulted himself as a unique creative and developer of hospitality projects throughout Europe, including the award-winning Brown Beach House Croatia (a former tobacco processing plant on the Dalmatian Coastline of Croatia, transformed into a signature Brown Hotels property) as well as Max Brown HotelsSir Savigny Berlin and Gekko Group’s Provocateur Berlin Hotel.

Image credit: Provocateur Berlin Hotel

Through savvy attention to detail, Zafrir creates more than simply beautiful spaces. His work gives spaces a second life, thus generating a new audience that can optimise revenues for hotel chains. The latest example is The ReMix Hotel in Paris., a new hotel that was slated to officially open this month located in Paris’ 19th arrondissement and a longtime property of Schroder’s Group. 

Schroder’s hired Zafrir to develop a new brand to revamp the pre-existing 259-key hotel property in Paris’ Parc of La Villette. With a colourful and eclectic design influenced by the retro and abstract flair of the 1980’s, The ReMIX Hotel is a far pivot from the previous concept behind the original Schroder’s property. Inspired by the 1980’s pop song ‘Forever Young,’ Zafrir has worked to reminisce the essence of the 80’s tune into a modern day design style. The result is a playful yet sophisticated atmosphere with vivid colours, mix of patterns and textures and custom-made furnishings. The ReMIX Hotel will be an anchor for drawing in new breaths of culture, art, entertainment and dining in Paris’ 19th arrondissement.

A bold bar with green and gold explored in the interior design

Image caption: Interior designer Saar Zafrir explored a distinct, loud ’80s interior design theme when redesigning the F&B areas inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

 

Hamish Kilburn: First things first, what inspired your career change from finance to enter the hotel design landscape?

Saar Zafrir: After 12 years within the capital world, I decided to take a year off. I used my shares to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv. During my year off, I decided to work on design and renovation. Whilst getting familiar with design, I taught myself how to use Sketchup, AutoCAD and congeneric software and I totally fell for it. The design was so brilliant that I began to design for both my family and friends. Two years later I bought partnership within the hotel industry and I sold my apartment. That’s how I got into the game.’’

HK: You’ve become known for modernising corporate-style hotels into fresh new brands. Is there any transformation project that you’re specifically proud of?

SZ: “Yes, ReMIX. ReMIX used to be an extremely dull cooperate hotel. We managed to transform it into a very exciting, fascinating hotel people love to visit, even just to take pictures.’’

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What is one trend that you wish will never return?
SZ: Terrazzo, for sure.

HK: What items during lockdown could you not have lived without?
SZ: “I would say both my oven and stove. I can’t choose.’’ 

HK: What makes a good design team?
SZ:
“Working together as a team to inspire each other along the way.’’ 

HK: Who is your interior design hero?
SZ: “Philippe Starck! He was the first to create something that really went out of the box.

HK: Tell me about the concept for your latest project: The ReMIX Hotel in Paris.

SZ: “The client presented us a very large building that needed total renovation. The building was built in the 80’s.

I had always dreamt of designing a hotel 80’s themed. I have always been a fan of the song ‘’Forever Young’’ by Alphaville. The design pitch was shared with the client and the investors of the project and they liked the idea very much. We wanted to bring back the 80s with the roller-skates, the pop, the neon and the rubiscos. The initial idea was to not just open one ReMIX hotel but more of them.’’

HK: What challenges did you face with this project?

SZ: The big challenge was to transform a very old and dull building into something that’s very exciting to look at. It has also been a challenge to convince the client of our initial design. Additionally, we were tied to a very tight budget. It has been a challenge to meet the client’s needs whilst taking the budget into consideration.’’ 

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

HK: Finally, can you tell me about some exciting projects you have in the pipeline?

SZ: “Yes, so we created a new brand called Cardo. Cardo is an autograph collection. It will appear in Rome (640 rooms), Paris (300 rooms) and Brussels (540 rooms). Cardo is a cooperate hotel that is characterised by super cool brands, an amazing F&B concept and Spa. I am convinced that it will soon become an evolutionary concept within the hospitality industry.’’

Main image credit: Saar Zafrir

1 - Bangle LED - Image Credit Luum

Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co and lighting studio Luum

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co and lighting studio Luum

Capturing the natural world in fixed form by merging light with scale and sculpture, Luum transforms interior spaces with lighting products from Heathfield & Co that stirs a heightened sense of wonder, excitement and energy…

1 - Bangle LED - Image Credit Luum

Beautiful lighting from Heathfield & Co is something we have come to expect – take a look at the Linden Collection, for example. But it’s the brand’s latest collaboration that is really hitting the right notes with our editorial team. Established in 2015, in close connection with Heathfield & Co, design studio Luum presents an inspired collection of beautiful contemporary fittings and large scale installations commissioned for clients across residential, hospitality and commercial sectors.

From the interlocking pyramid configuration of their bestselling Bangle to the decorative disks of Leaf or Samara, the brand’s sculptural fixtures transform interior spaces.

A cascade of aluminium discs pierced with a sunray design, Leaf (pictured above) offers unlimited design possibilities. Look up and you are reminded of the dappled light of the sun filtered through the canopy of a tree. The boundaries of the pendant and the space beyond it are blurred, creating an elegant and adaptable centrepiece.

Inspired by contemporary jewellery, Bangle is constructed by a series of pyramids locked together in a scattered formation to create a geometric sculpture. Available as the original design (pictured above left) or with integrated diffused LED strips (pictured above right) Bangle is a modern lighting sculpture, creating lively interaction between light and shade.

Heathfield & Co is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Luum

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: The hotel designers behind Ostuni’s new boutique jewel

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke, owners and hotel designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, have not had the smoothest ride to open their labour of love. Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn catches up with the duo as they prepare to welcome the world to their dream boutique hotel…

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Back in early 2020, before Covid-19 had become the distraction of the year, Hotel Designs was packing its bags ready to check in to a new boutique hotel that had made it onto the editorial team’s radar. Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Puglia’s White City of Ostuni – on the heel of Italy – and is elegantly sheltered inside a restored red palace.

Arial view of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team were particularly impressed by the story of Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners of the property, who painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair.

Unfortunately, days before our scheduled trip to review the new 11-key hotel that stands in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of the city around it, the spread of Covid-19 put a major halt on plans to visit the naturally stunning destination.

Almost one year later, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Lauber and Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project.

A vintage looking room inside 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Hamish Kilburn: How did you come to take on the restoration project?

Pascale Lauber: It was in 2016. We were actually in Puglia to recharge and had no intention of taking on a new project at all. An Ostunian friend invited us to visit the Palazzo Rosso and we agreed, simply to admire the architecture of such a historic building. However, as soon as the red carriage door opened it was love at first sight and we knew instantly that we would not be able to resist. We were immediately drawn to the potential of the centuries-old gem. The height of its ceilings, its vaults, its frescoes, its red-stone.

HK: Did you always know that you wanted the building to be transformed into a hotel?

Ulrike Bauschke: For us, it was unthinkable not to make the building a hotel and accessible to the public, it really is just too beautiful to stay hidden! We have shaken up the rules of real estate and interior design in projects all over the world, from Romont, Lausanne and Verbier, Switzerland; to Paris, New York and Cape Town and knew instantly that we could do the same here.

“Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters” – Ulrike Bauschke.

A artefact of a monkey on a bar

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: What discoveries did you make during the restoration?

UK: We worked with conservator Maria Buongiorno to uncover the mysteries of the multi-secular Palazzo, which has so many stories to tell from the 17th Century to present day. The most ancient parts of the building from the 1700s including fireplaces, stone vaults and also frescoes, like the magnificent “Jesus and the Samaritan” were significant discoveries. Several smaller details and treasures were also discovered, such as a wooden door with peepholes typical of 17th century cloisters that suggests that the Palazzo once housed a convent.

PL: Equally, the beautiful original majolica tiles, which have been brought to new life in Bar 700. On the back of some of those tiles, we found an M stamp, the brand of a famous workshop owned by the three Massa brothers, ceramics masters of early 18th century Naples, suggesting the building was once in Neapolitan hands.

a dark room with high vaulted ceilings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: You both worked on the project together, who does what and are you always in agreement on the design details?

UK: We have opened and renovated restaurants, boutique hotels and apartments all over the world together and we make a complimentary pair, each with our own, very distinct strengths.

PL: I’m an instinctive designer, something that runs through my veins and guides everything I do, so the architecture and interiors were very much my vision. I took the lead with the renovation, but the way I work is with few words and thousands of images in my head. Sometimes I wish one could invent a copy machine to print all my ideas that are spinning in my head 24 hours a day… I couldn’t have brought it to life exactly how I wanted it without the help of Ulrike, who as a passionate traveller as well knows exactly what makes an outstanding hotel.

UK: Yes so we are pretty much in agreement and the only challenge was to show and create understanding of what Pascale’s vision was. She had it all in her head so between us bringing it to life exactly as she envisioned it was the biggest challenge.

A large red headboard in a vintage setting

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: Let’s address the elephant in the room… You opened the hotel in the middle of Covid-19, how was this?

UK: The timing could not have been worse for us and like everyone in the hospitality and travel industry we have been badly affected. However, we’ve been luckily has it seemed that everybody wanted to come to Puglia when we finally managed to open our doors and welcome guests throughout the summer months. With only 11 rooms and plenty of beautiful outdoor space, the hotel is actually ideal for safe travel in these times so we are lucky in that respect as well and have always made sure the health and wellbeing of our guests and team is paramount. We have been blown away with the glowing feedback from our guests and if we can make a success of a hotel opening during a global pandemic, we can do anything!

HK: Pascale, can you explain your personal design ethos and would you say Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel embodies this?

PL: Each project I do is so different and distinct, but the creative association of old and new art, objects and furnishings in a head-spinning and yet personal mix is my trademark and signature design style. I have a vision that is multicultural and original down to the smallest detail and this creates a unique result that is coherent, deeply modern and stimulating. I would say that Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa embodies my design ethos. The heart of the hotel’s design and what I really set out to achieve was creating exquisite design in every detail with beautiful energy while also preserving and celebrating the history of the building.

HK: Where do you look to for inspiration?

UK: We love travelling and have been lucky to live around the world, providing a fantastic source of inspiration. Visiting countless international art and trade shows, but also local flea-markets, is always inspiring and for this particular project the architecture and heritage of Puglia was certainly an influence.

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

HK: If (or should I say ‘when’!) I can come and visit the hotel, what should I do first?

UK: If you can, request to stay in the room called Onyx. Every one of our guest rooms and suites is different, but Onyx, which is black, is a firm favourite. Once you have checked it out, head to the pool, which is the only one in the city, for a refreshing swim followed by some time unwinding in the garden and of course an aperitivo at Bar 700. The next day you will be ready to enjoy beautiful Puglia- the food, culture, people, history, landscapes, countryside and sea!

A luxury pool with white washed buildings

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

PL: With only 11 guest rooms, our friendly team are able to offer an insider experience so be sure to ask them for their personal tips and recommendations and also enjoy some of our bespoke experiences, from burrata making to motorbike tours or trips out on our boat, a former carabinieri boat transformed into a private yacht, Dragonfly.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Despite modern hotels generally being clean and safe spaces, there is no doubt that hygiene will become of the many new demands from modern travellers in a post-pandemic world. In a recent panel discussion, hoteliers from around the world gathered to discuss how to reassure the post-corona consumer. One of the major conclusions was that the hospitality industry has become more interested in learning about new hotel hygiene solutions; methods and innovations when it comes to cleaning surfaces and killing bad bacteria that is airborne.

Covid-19 was the cruel catalyst that forced all industries to confront hygiene. With the pandemic forcing much of hospitality’s doors shut once more – and at the very least keeping guests at a distance – it was only ever going to be a matter of time before new products to emerge, all of which launched with claims of being  ‘unlike any other’ on the market.

To cut through the noise, here are seven effective hygiene products and services on the market that have caught our editorial attention in recent months.

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

What’s unique about Room To Breathe, aside from the technology, is the brand’s narrative. Before Covid-19 was even a headline, the team at Room To Breathe were planning on launching a service that would ‘transform indoor environments into hypoallergenic spaces’. The seven step process, which includes purging, deep cleaning, fogging, UV technology, protext, sanifying and testing, works to continuously maintain clean air and surfaces removing up to 99.999 per cent of coronoviruses including influenzas, bacteria, allergens, mould, germs & VOC’s.

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

One of major concerns hotels will have when introducing new hygiene protocols – especially when this shift in attitude confronts guests’ behaviour – will be finding solutions that do not interfere with the design of the space. KEUCO’s sleek sanitiser dispensers are suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red hygiene tap – close up lifestyle shot

Image credit: GROHE

With hygiene being a ‘top priority’ for the brand, so much so that it is launching its first CPD module on the topic this February, The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is an ideal air purifier for guestrooms and office spaces. The Simple ‘plug in and go’ product breathes clean air indoors. The Blue Pure 411, which was recently specified in all rooms at Page8 Hotel in London, uses Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology to remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens.

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is a hygiene solution that has been launched by Villeroy & Boch. The brand’s new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The easy-to-clean DirectFlush WCs is ideal for both private households and commercial projects.

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

The need for a hygiene friendly finishes doesn’t mean that interior projects have to compromise on design, at least not when it comes to laminated boards and HPL materials from UNILIN panels. These surfaces can be cleaned several times a day by 70 per cent alcohol solutions without fear of damage, helping in the ongoing maintenance and daily hygiene of commercial environments.

With the UNILIN Evola Collection, specifiers can bring the feel and look of natural materials, brushed metals and terrazzo, explore the crisp ‘clean’ colours of pure white and bright fresh green, or embrace the soft-touch effect of Super Matt Black; creating surfaces that are at once beautiful and hygienic. What’s more, with more than 190 options, there’s really no limit to creativity.

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

Ever since I have written about hotel design, I have had to confront rumours that robots will replace front-of-house hospitality. Despite the human touch being is irreplaceable when it comes to service, we cannot deny that Covid-19 has created new challenges for designers and hoteliers when creating public areas. In a recent debate, it was suggested that, to feed an on-demand society’s expectations, the hotel lobby will become more theatrical in the post-pandemic world, as practical elements like ‘check in’ will take place online prior to stepping inside the building. Therefore, there is a strong argument that the role of front-of-house staff will also change following this demand and, suddenly, the idea of robot butlers suddenly doesn’t sound so radical.

As I write this, we have a journalist on the ground in Las Vegas to explore all the latest tech trends emerging in hospitality at the annual CES. We cannot yet conclusively answer as to whether or not we predict robots having a new role in a post-pandemic world, but we can certainly suggest that, considering all of the solutions above have developed from research and development, technology will very much be front and centre of all hygiene solutions in 2021 and beyond.

If you have a hygiene products that you would like to put on the radar of our editorial team, please email press releases and images directly to our editor. The HD Edit on ‘Safe Design’ will go live on February 20. Between on and then, you can re-watch our latest HD Live session on Reassuring the Post Corona Consumer.

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

As part of our editorial series exploring the wider context of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection, Hotel Designs understands more about the 1920s and ’30s, art-deco inspired pieces that the bathroom brand has launched to the market…

Characterised by the unmistakable shapes and colours synonymous with the 1920s and 1930s style, the Art Deco range by Burlington was inspired by architecture and vintage tableware.

Charleston

Drawing heavily on the linear and geometric designs of the early modern art movements, the elegant fan-like shape of the Charleston pattern creates an eye-catching focal point. Complementing the traditional silhouette of Burlington’s ceramics, the delicate monochrome illustration is ideal for those wanting to add a unique embellishment to their bathroom interior.

feature in a basin

Image credit: Charleston, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Vienna

A design that exudes confidence and charm, the vibrant appearance of the Vienna pattern blends a classic retro colour palette with the geometric shapes reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Inspired by the yellow ochre and black shades in vintage tableware, Vienna brings a playful nod of the roaring twenties into today’s bathroom.

Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Image credit: Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Martinez

Inspired by the iconic Martinez Hotel balcony in Cannes, the hand-illustrated pattern fuses both linear and circular detailing, resulting in an exquisite and attention-grabbing decoration. A subtle incorporation of gold echoes the distinctive balcony design, leaving a lasting impression.

Burlington is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Burlington

First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

W Design International has completed Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which is scheduled to open in October 2020. Before then, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside…

Showcasing innovative creations of Japanese and international artists under the concept ‘different by design’, Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which will open in October 2020, will mark the brand’s arrival in Japan.

W Design International (W/D/I), assigned by Sankei Building, initiated the overall design and realiastion of Aloft Ginza by combining old-school aesthetics inspired by Ginza’s social stories and industrial design. The new 16-storey boutique design hotel with rooftop bar is filled with radiant and iconic works by select artists. W/D/I curated a total of 11 artists whose installation-art was allocated to embody the ambience at Aloft Ginza.

With more than 16 years of experience on hospitality design projects across Japan and the Asia Pacific region, W/D/I is specialist firm in the hospitality design sector, providing strategic and creative solutions for projects in Japan and beyond.

“The guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe.”

True to its ‘Ginza Vogue’ flair, the eclectic style of the 205 loft-like guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe. The hotel is the ideal accommodation for global travellers who love open spaces and stylish boutique design. “Ginza Vogue” also pays homage to Toshiro Mifune’s 100th birthday, a legendary Japanese actor who was loved by film fans internationally.

The ‘different by design’ scheme has been achieved largely by W/D/I collaborating with lightning, audiovisual and music design by WORKTECHT to create one-off meaningful experiences. The atmosphere created was inspired by the Miyuki-Zoku movement from 1964, where Japanese teenagers expressed a cutting-edge and sophisticated style (the suffix “zoku” means “subculture” or “social club“). Meanwhile globally in 1964, pop art changed the art world. Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein became superstars, and many of them collaborated. W/D/I visualised this Ivy-fashion and rock spirit for “Neo Miyuki-Zoku” in 2020.

Aloft Tokyo Ginza is located less than a five-minute walk away from both Ginza Station and Higashi-Ginza Station, and will open aptly while the city is preparing to face the greatest sporting event in modern times, the Olympics Games, ideal for savvy international travellers who are expected to attend.

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

Product watch: Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics

The Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics is simple yet elegant mix of bedroom furniture. Hotel Designs explores…

A perfect complement to the brand’s other ranges of traditional chairs and tables, Newport Bedroom Collection by Taylor’s Classics is ideal for hotels and other accommodation styles.

The range consists of two styles of wardrobe, a bedside cabinet with a choice of marble tops, a luggage rack, a bedroom desk with gilded leather insert, a selection of bedroom/ desk chairs, bedroom tables and reclaimed lighting.

This range of contract bedroom furniture is crafted in solid and veneered European Oak and manufactured to contract quality standards. The design and detailing recalls that of the late Victorian, Arts & Crafts era, and will blend easily into the interiors of many hotels or inns of the period.

The Newport Collection is available in either a light or medium oak stain and polished in a resistant polyurethane lacquer.

Download our brochure here.

Taylor’s Classics is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Taylor’s Classics

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

The Mayson is said to be Dublin’s ‘hottest new boutique hotel’ and one of the most modern and architecturally striking hotels added to the Dublin skyline. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

Located in the heart of Dublin Docklands, The Mayson is an exciting restoration project by ODOS of 45,000 square feet.

It now shelters a 94-key hotel, as well as destination bars, restaurants, a gym, ample event space and an outdoor courtyard.

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The Mayson is a redevelopment of two protected structures – one formerly a town house built in 1860 and the other an industrial warehouse dating back to 1870. Architects ODOS have kept the original features and fixtures such as the fireplaces and the restoration of the old Valence & McGrath pub including its shop front and worked in collaboration with ODON on interiors.

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

“This exciting restoration project is a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay,” said David O’Shea, founder of ODOS. “ Both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters. The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare to establish this forgotten building.”

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The hotel also features an unusual ‘living’ wall where plants grow up through an internal courtyard, adding to the unconventional off-beat ethos of The Mayson. Offering a rooftop restaurant with views of all over Dublin, Ryleigh’s restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and The Mayson Bar, which serves food all day long, there is a wide variety of food available.

Main image credit: The Mayson

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

Murals may be in right now, but Hamilton Litestat’s adaptable Perception CFX wiring accessories will see you through this season, the next, and many more to come…

The wallcoverings trend shows no signs of abating, whether that’s tropical prints, traditional florals, art deco or geometric patterns.

Taking it one step further, scenic and mural wallpapers will continue to be extremely popular for 2020, creating huge picturesque scenes to get lost in. With so many options available, there’s something to suit every property and taste, from serene landscapes and textures to dramatic panoramas.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 2 Gang, 2 Way Toggle Switch | Image credit: Allie Smith/Hamilton Litestat

While changing a wall covering to suit the latest trend can be relatively simple, updating electrical wiring accessories to deliver the perfect finishing touch can be more difficult and costly. But Hamilton’s Perception CFX range of electrical wiring accessories are almost imperceptible, allowing a wall design to really stand out. The plate design has concealed fixings and features a 4.2mm snap-on clear front plate with a slightly rounded edge that allows your chosen wall covering to be inserted for a seamless look that blends discreetly into the décor.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, Push On/Off Rotary Multi-Way Dimmer | Image credit: Thanos Pal/Hamilton Litestat

We’ve seen striking interiors make fantastic use of these wiring accessories, with hotels and restaurants featuring the solutions on mural walls that depict local landscapes and historical images. And the beauty and benefit are that the insert within the plate can be changed as the wall design does, meaning that this wiring accessory will last the test of both time and trend.

Plus, there’s no compromise when it comes to configurations as Perception CFX is available in 1, 2, 3 or 4-gang plates, with a wide range of switch options including rocker, toggle, rotary and rocker dimmer switches. Power sockets, media plates, hotel card switches, Grid Fix and EuroFix are also available.

We’re particularly lusting after the bold Kews Leafy Florals mural by ATA Designs, which can really sing when paired with the Perception CFX switch plate. Whatever your wall covering, Hamilton’s range allows it to make a statement without distraction.

Hamilton Litestat, which sponsored the ‘‘technology’ seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, 2 Way Rocker Switch | Image credit: Vinicius Amano/Hamilton Litestat

IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

With Greece becoming a popular go-to destination post-lockdown, Hotel Designs explores the interior design story of Bellonias Villas in Santorini, created by Greek firms K Studio and Interni by Moda Bagno…

Natural, simple elegance is at the heart of Bellonias Villas, which is made up of 26 beach suites scattered alongside the black volcanic Kamari beach, on the east coast of the island of Santorini overlooking the mountain of ancient Thira.

This boutique hotel is also home to Elia Restaurant, a pool-side cocktail bar, and its own private stretch of beach, making it the ideal choice for couples and families who seek stylish, unpretentious luxury and beachside relaxation in a peaceful part of Santorini.

This is a contemporary project that conveys the passion and creativity of the local owners, in combination with the innovative & fresh thinking of up-and-coming Greek architects & artists. The exterior bar, pool area, restaurant and reception were designed by Athens-based design gurus K Studio. Interiors are by Greek company Interni by ModaBagno. Drawing inspiration from the unique landscape of Santorini, the designed environment is composed of natural materials such as wood and stone, with a contemporary aesthetic.  

Stylish white interior suite overlooking the sea

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

The hotel’s beach suites reflect this philosophy of modern elegance paired with the traditional beauty of simplicity. Pressed cement floors and built-in beds and sofas are complemented by selected designer pieces and artistic details adding flashes of colour to a largely monochrome backdrop. This fusion of traditional Cycladic elements with a modern design concept creates a sophisticated environment with a warm, natural feel. 

The 26 suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes including: 

The honeymoon suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Located on the upper level of the hotel, framing direct sea views from its balcony and its private outdoor hot tub is The Honeymoon Suite. An indoor staircase separates the upper level bedroom from the lower level, which features a spacious bathroom, a fully equipped kitchenette and a living area for lounging. 

Superior Sea View Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

These suites offer direct sea views from a furnished balcony or terrace, and sleep two adults in an airy open plan space, with double bed, a fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. Sea View Suites are located either on the upper level or on the ground floor. 

Apartment Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Apartment suites, expected to be in popular demand post-pandemic, have a furnished garden view terrace or balcony, and come in a variety of sizes, comfortably accommodating up to five people – perfect for families. There is one bedroom, plus a separate living space that can become a second sleeping area if required. A fully equipped kitchenette with dining area and bathroom complete the apartment.

Studio Suite

Small but perfectly formed, the Studio Suites sleep two adults in a double or twin beds, with furnished garden view balcony or terrace, fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. 

Elia Restaurant

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

With an inspiring open air setting, and delicious food by award-winning Chef Christos Papageorgiou, Elia is one of the finest dining options in Santorini. Set between the seafront of Kamari beach and the hotel’s chic pool area, the restaurant has a stylish yet unpretentious ambiance and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Within the hotel, a wellness area includes whirlpool tub, gym, steam, sauna and treatment room is available for guests to book on request. 

A note from the editor: If the industry has learned anything during its forced hibernation over the last few months, it’s that simplicity and authenticity is going to be a significant demand for consumers checking into the post-pandemic world. Stripping interiors to reveal a minimalist design, exposing the architecture of a building, and injecting personality into private and public areas with interesting lighting concepts, and stylish art and the use of meaningful colour – much like what Bellonias Villas does so effortlessly – is going to be 

Main image credit: Bellonias Villas

Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

1024 1024 Hamish Kilburn
Everything you need to know about hospitality salaries and staff expectations

Salaries and conditions in hospitality can be a touchy subject. It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what your staff need — and expect — to do their jobs properly. Planday’s industry expert Jonne Tanskanen explains how you can get an exclusive look at what your staff want with the results of the largest hospitality salary survey…

If you asked your staff to rank the changes they would like at work, what would they say?

For 66 per cent of hospitality workers in the UK, the answer is better financial remuneration. Then it’s a better work-life balance and the opportunities for training, development and promotion. 

Image credit: Planday

So what — exactly — does that look like?

Discussions about salaries and conditions can be touchy and it’s a challenge to balance the investment you need to make in people to create quality experiences and keep your business plan on track. In a busy hotel, you can often schedule staff for the right number of hours but then reality gets in the way and your staff do more overtime, often with very little notice.

Smart businesses understand that the best possible investment any hotel can make is in finding, training and keeping quality staff. They create better experiences for your guests, keep loyal customers coming back and help you grow your business along with it.

But keeping quality staff longer takes investment and time for any HR Manager. And that’s why Planday recently partnered with the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Show to hear exactly what more than 1,800 hospitality staff want. 

In an exclusive report that you can download today, you’ll get the data you need to help keep your employees happy and grow your business.

Join the hundreds of hospitality businesses around the world with the insight they need to keep quality staff for longer.

  • Understand the importance of employee benefits
  • View what benefits are available and used throughout the industry
  • Learn about other drivers that keep employees in their role
  • See the average annual salaries of hospitality workers
  • Find out how many extra hours are usually added to contracted amount per week
  • Read what hospitality employees feel about their work-life balance

Make a smarter investment in the staff that help you stand out from the crowd. Get the insights you need today. 

Planday is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Planday

Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

In the wake of pandemic, Hotel Designs has made a few amendments to this year’s in-house event calendar. Editor Hamish Kilburn explains…

The internal whole team at Hotel Designs and Forum Events have been working tireless, reacting to the latest government guidelines, in order to organise premium networking events that are safe and effective for designers, hoteliers, architects, developers and key-industry suppliers.

Ahead of officially opening nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020, here’s some clarification around the latest amendments to this year’s in-house events.

Hotel Designs LIVE | October 13, 2020 | Virtual event

The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on October 13 (more details on the line-up and how to participate coming soon).

In order to continue to create conversations like no other, Hotel Designs has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.  

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place online on June 23, defined the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

#HotelDesignsLIVE

The Brit List Awards 2020 | November 12, 2020 | Virtual event

The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

Following last year’s spectacular event, the nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects has begun.

Unlike previous years, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners’ party (MEET UP London) scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London.

Simply click here to apply/nominate free of charge for The Brit List Awards 2020.

Sponsors:

#TheBritListAwards2020

MEET UP London/The Brit List Winners’ Party | January 28, 2021 | Minotti London

For Hotel Designs’ first live networking event staged since lockdown, The Brit List Awards 2020 is gatecrashing MEET UP London.

Sheltered safely inside Minotti London’s premium and spacious Fitzrovia showroom, MEET UP London will welcome the shortlisted finalists and winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. As well as celebrating Britain as a design and hospitality hub, the event will be themed ‘Inspiring Creativity’. To aptly mark this, Hotel Designs has invited an award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta to become headline speakers at the event. 

Applying principles of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology, the visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before. This will be followed by an engaging talk discussing how and why sound should be considered when designing the hotel of the future. From Jet Lag to Mindfulness solutions, their unique collaboration represents the synergy and creativity needed to future-proof hospitality.

MEET UP North | May 6 | Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

In response to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, MEET UP North has been forced to postpone its plans until next year. The event, which is Hotel Designs’ leading networking evening in the north, will return to Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6, 2021.

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete and open this year – the theme of MEET UP North will be Manchester On The Boards. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers for the industry’s leading networking event in the north.

Sponsors:

If you would like to sponsor any of our upcoming events, please email Katy Phillips, or call +44 (0) 1992 374050. 

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

Six Senses Antognolla, which marks the brand’s second opening in Italy, will shelter more branded residences than it will rooms…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced its latest project in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Antognolla, set in Umbria, the green heart of Italy.

Opening in 2023, the same year as the hotel plans to open its debut London property, Six Senses Antognolla will welcome guests to a rural escape against the backdrop of olive groves, vineyards and cypress-topped hills.

The castle, borgo and estate are being reincarnated with a sustainable focus. There will be 71 rooms and 79 branded residences, a diverse wellness and cultural offering, 18-hole golf course, equestrian centre, cookery school and organic farm. Encompassing a 1,335-acre (540-hectare) site, the surrounding contours and forest provide privacy and exclusivity, while the variety of facilities and activities make it a year-round destination. 

The redevelopment is being headed by VIY Management (VIYM), a London-based investment firm focused on luxury hospitality and mixed-use real estate projects and Alessio Carabba Tettamanti, an investor in Antognolla and the owner of the luxury Umbrian estate Tenuta di Murlo. The masterplan is by Woods Bagot, ranked sixth in the BD World Architecture 100. Interiors are by Tokyo-based Design Studio SPIN, known for transforming the interiors of renowned hotels and restaurants into the most luxurious venues. 

“We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses.” – Jim Ryan, development director, Antognolla

 “We are thrilled to start bringing our collaborative plans with Six Senses to life. Antognolla is a unique project in Italy in terms of its concept; combining a luxury hotel in a medieval castle, stylish serviced residential properties, an exceptional golf course and a luxurious spa complex – all of which will be operated by a world-renowned international hospitality brand,” said development director Jim Ryan of Antognolla. “We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses, and we have a truly unique opportunity to carefully preserve and develop this area of historical and cultural significance.”

A new chapter in this rich history has now begun. The 71 guest rooms and suites will be located within the historical castle and traditional old borgo buildings. The 79 residences, which will soon be available to purchase, range from apartments and two-bedroom villas to six-bedroom farmhouses, combining the heritage of Umbria with the comfort of modern living. All accommodations offer a unique home-from-home retreat thanks to the location, design features and abundant resort facilities. Old or new, everything blends seamlessly with the surroundings.

Six Senses Spa will be located within a contemporary wing of the new main building, and will offer wellness programming that incorporates sleep health, nutrition, movement and self-discovery.

Running through the centre of the estate, the 18-hole golf course has been designed by renowned designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. With long, cliff-lined fairways, undulating greens and pesky lakes, the course has been installed to provide year-round playability and quick-drying surfaces. Drainage water is captured and recycled, boosting the course’s eco-credentials.

The charm of Umbria’s ancient towns and villages is complemented by its cuisine, which is renowned for superb ingredients and authentically rustic dishes. Guests and residents will enjoy the very best of local produce, including herbs, olives, fruit and vegetables grown on the estate itself.

Main image credit: Six Senses

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

Driving the industry to search for and specify sustainable art, Artelier explores sustainable artwork in luxury contexts…

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values.

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values. What once was more of a fashionable trend has rightly become a major cross-sector movement, and increasingly diverse industries are promoting eco-conscious practices. Most importantly, consumers are holding companies accountable for their claims, and want them to do more than swap out plastic straws or reuse cups. This has led to a push for innovative new concepts, uses of materials, and structural changes, so that the needs of projects are met in a significantly more sustainable way.

Within sectors such as luxury hospitality, a major question has arisen over how to deliver the exquisite interior design that a discerning clientele have come to expect, whilst also being sustainable. Naturally, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive – much of cutting-edge luxury design now favours natural materials and a stripped-back simplicity, which lends itself to sustainable products. A key way of sustainably creating adding luxury to these spaces are intelligently curated artworks. Sustainable artworks can bridge the gap between creating a stunning aesthetic experience and promoting environmentally responsible design.

As art consultants, Artelier have discovered first-hand how art can enhance and deepen a project’s focus on sustainability. Here, Artelier’s curators offer their insight into the dilemmas faced by luxury industries, and explore how inventive artists can create sustainable artworks by transforming humble materials into stunning installations.

The dilemma of decorating sustainably

After the architectural and engineering efforts in new-build projects, it is critical for the interior design to likewise be sustainable, whilst creating the right aesthetic impression. Few luxury items, however, can offer sustainability, since often they are made from materials like precious metals and rare marbles. Artworks are in themselves luxury items, and can meanwhile be produced with full sustainability in mind – artists can take basic and sustainable materials and through their craftsmanship make them luxury items. Rather than being a ‘token’ sustainable element, a newly commissioned artwork can reflect the owner’s own sustainable philosophy as each aspect of producing the artwork can be transparently low-impact.

The idea of bespoke items and artworks has long been at the height of luxury, and so many private clients have supported artists through commissioning artworks. In their pursuit of the bespoke and one-off, patrons have championed low-volume craftsmanship for their willingness to pay for artworks to be hand-made specially for them. In recent years, technology has advanced so much that a similar visual effect can be achieved – eye-catching surfaces can be cost-effectively created by companies with faux metals, resins and plastics. Whilst they meet the tastes of clients and can be seductively beautiful objects, the materials used to create these effects are not sustainable. When private clients instead choose to invest in commissioned artworks, they not only receive an ultra-bespoke interior feature, but a significantly more sustainable option.

Image credit: Artelier


Natural materials

While some contemporary artists actively use ancient craft techniques, more broadly many artists authentically engage with sustainability through using exclusively natural materials. Taking humble and widespread materials such as wood, they are able to creatively transform them into fine art. The artworks communicate the natural beauty of earth’s resources, and deeply connect viewers with the environment by making them experience nature in new and surprising ways.

One such artist is Christian Burchard, who creates wood sculptures from a tree species native to the area surrounding his studio in Oregon, USA. His expressive carving creates poetic and dynamic sculptural compositions. He aims to show viewers the essence of the wood’s natural structures, allowing the material to ‘speak its own language’, rather than imposing onto it. Artelier commissioned a collection of Burchard’s work for superyacht Pelorus (115m). The client and the interior designer used a neutral palette within the interiors, as they wanted a pure and natural design that utilised organic materials. They approached Artelier for us to identify artists that were in tune with their own materials, and would contribute to the sustainable feel of the overall design.

Artist Stuart Ian Frost’s creates site-specific installations from natural, and often foraged, raw materials. Each installation is created specially for its landscape, and Frost seeks to evoke the particularities of the individual environment. He draws inspiration from local geographical features and the raw materials themselves, but also often looks to incorporate the culture and architecture of the area. Like Burchard, Frost’s artworks seek to present nature in an unfamiliar, yet illuminating way, encouraging the viewer to challenge their own perceptions of the materials. His large-scale sculptures playfully incorporate pattern and organic shapes to transform the raw materials, giving them a newfound vitality. Meanwhile, his smaller scale artworks use foraged natural materials, such as bird quills, and represent them in expressive geometric designs.

Found materials are also central to British multi-disciplinary artist Sir Richard Long, who uses basic materials like mud or rocks to create sculptures, paintings, and installations. In so doing, he pushes the boundaries of which materials are typically considered suitable for fine art. Many of his artworks are created while on walks in landscapes, a primordial engagement between man and earth, and are left to be reclaimed by nature. His gallery artworks likewise present a visceral engagement with natural resources, such as his paintings created from mud from the Riven Avon in England; Long uses his bare hands to paint, preserving his gestures by leaving his hand and finger prints visible.

In such ways, many artists are naturally resourceful and low impact, by their use of foraged and natural materials. Conceptually, many of these artists are also inspired by how the natural world can be represented to viewers, in a way that emphasises man’s harmony with nature rather than dominance over it. Within a sustainable project, these artworks bear special significance, as they symbolise the objective behind incorporating sustainability – a re-evaluation of how humankind interacts with the environment, and how we can better preserve and respect natural resources.

Sustainability in the world of hospitality

As modern, eco-conscious people travel the world, they seek hotels that are likewise committed to sustainability. Hoteliers and hospitality designers must respond to this demand, and while efforts to promote environmentally conscious operations like reducing washing or plastic waste are worthwhile, sustainability has to be a key concern from the initial stages of hotel design to be more deeply effective.

However, when considering the sheer scale of hotels and how hotel areas will be used, ensuring sustainability throughout the hotel poses more obstacles than in private spaces. Many materials, for example, need to be more hard-wearing: carpets that use synthetic fibres are easier to clean, and often need to be synthetic in order to comply with fire safety regulations. Meanwhile, while materials like marbles or metals can be used sparingly in private properties, they are simply not sustainable at the quantity required for hotels.

Image credit: Artelier

For a hotel project to be truly sustainable, sustainability has to be a core consideration from the inception of the project. It has to be considered in everything from structural materials and utilising natural sun and ventilation, to being rigorous in sourcing reputable interior suppliers who prioritise sustainable production. In order to make sustainable hotel design more than simply tapping into a trend, new hotels have focus on longevity – much negative environmental impact comes from the waste of replacing worn-out features.

Considering this level of care to incorporate sustainability, it is essential that decorative aspects are not an afterthought to the project. After great effort has gone into sustainable design solutions, artworks can be overlooked, and in reality not be that sustainable. Whilst on an individual basis each artwork’s sustainability may not be a major source for concern, together they can make a significant impact. If every room features artworks as well as the lobby, stairwells, and spa areas, irresponsible sourcing and using even small amounts of unsustainable materials can quickly add up. It is essential, therefore, to work coherently with specialist art consultants who are able to make sourcing sustainable art straightforward, and curate the entire collection for minimal environmental impact.

In addition, sustainable artworks bring many benefits to the hotel project. If a hotel decides to compromise on luxury materials in favour of sustainability, and opt for a more neutral, pared-back approach to interior design, the artwork can become the accent or focal point in the space. Sourcing art is further a great opportunity for supporting local artists, as artworks can be created from local materials and shipping costs are minimised. Supporting sustainable artists also makes for an engaging way for the hotel to promote its values and reflect its context.

Image credit: Artelier

Communicating sustainability through art

With the move towards environmental concern, many mass-producing companies have tried to meet this demand by providing ‘sustainable’ products. However, is there really space for this in the future, when increasingly the move towards sustainability goes beyond natural materials, but also sustainable practices in the studio? Clients are trying to achieve a sense of connection in their projects, and so the individualism of makers is in itself becoming increasingly more valued. Bespoke artworks are a more authentic and personal way of decorating. A specially commissioned artwork can symbolically convey the central concerns of a client, and communicate their focus on sustainability.

Image credit: Artelier

Ever since artworks were created by ancient civilisations, artists have used their work as a traditional form of visual communication, that goes beyond simply decorative enhancement. Art engages the viewer’s attention and creates atmosphere, producing an immediate and non-verbal understanding. A basic material transformed into a large-scale art installation instantly conveys to viewers the artist’s commentary on man’s relationship with the natural world. For instance, in a commission for the headquarters of a company at the forefront of recycling innovation, Artelier commissioned a mobile sculpture that embodied the company values. Created from sustainable steam-bent wood, the mobile constantly evolves and transforms, representing the concept of recycling forms.

Art offers a way to combine luxury with truly sustainable practices, and is one of the few products to be able to do so. But it more than simply decoration – art is able to tell a story. It communicates the deeper essence of the project, and is an evocative way of representing its sustainable values. The skill of the art consultant is to be able to source artworks that stay true to the project’s commitment to sustainability, and curate them in such a way that conveys the message to a wider audience.

Artelier is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Artelier

PRODUCT WATCH: Stock Collection by Ulster Carpets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Stock Collection by Ulster Carpets

The collection by Ulster Carpets is full of quick contract carpet solutions…

Ulster Carpets understands that many projects require quick turnaround times and speedy delivery. That’s why many of its stock ranges are becoming ever more popular within the commercial market.

From contemporary styles to traditional elegance, the diversity of Ulster’s stock ranges means there is a stock collection to suit every type of project and the quality, extensive colour and design options will leave interior designers spoilt for choice.

Here’s a look at some of the stock designs on offer:

  • Vescent – The eclectic new contract stock collection features six contemporary designs – Linea, Arbor, Nebula, Calx, Vapor and Nexus – in 21 colourways. The neutral colour palette reflects modern textile trends, while a flash of colour is added for those seeking something different. From structured designs to more organic styles, the secret to the success of Vescent is the diversity of the collection.

  • Fusion – Striking patterns and colourways that have been designed to make an impact set Fusion apart. The selection of blues, greys and neutrals are perfect for current colouring demands, while the scale of the bold designs is tempered by the use of texture to accentuate the softness and practicality of the axminster pile.

 

Image credit: Ulster Carpets

  • The Mix – this collection, typifies our core values of design, excellence, customer focus and outstanding product quality. Designed exclusively to meet the varied demands of the international hospitality industry, The Mix consists of 8 contemporary designs that are as eye-catching in public areas as they are in guestrooms.

Image credit: Ulster Carpets

As well as design choice, Ulster also provides quality. As we control every aspect of the manufacturing process, we can guarantee the quality of every carpet. Carpets in the Stock Collection are manufactured in a hard wearing combination of 80 per cent wool and 20 per cent nylon in a variety of colour matching widths making them perfect for a wide range of busy contract applications, including bedrooms and suites; corridors; meeting rooms; and public areas.

Vescent, Fusion and The Mix are just three examples of our comprehensive stock collection, giving you an unrivalled level of choice.

Ulster Carpets is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Ulster Carpets

SPOTLIGHT ON: how Edmund bell grew as a textile brand

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: how Edmund bell grew as a textile brand

To celebrate Soft Furnishings and Fabrics being placed under the editorial spotlight this month, Hotel Designs asks the team at Edmund Bell to explain its past, present and predict its future…

Ever since Edmund Bell was founded in 1855, as a merchant converter in textiles, it has always been proud of its heritage – becoming a major supplier of blackout fabrics during World War II, which is how it inadvertently entered the soft furnishings market.

Fast forward 165 years and the company now supplies for more than 8,000 customers across the globe in more than 50 different countries, directly from its headquarters in Rochdale, UK. One of its recent projects was Hard Rock Hotel London, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed shortly after opening.

The team at Edmund Bell take pride in the fact that when a company chooses to work with them, they are:

  • Investing in skilled craftsmanship.
  • Investing in something of quality that will last.
  • Securing the future of manufacturing within Europe.
  • Buying a product that has passed our rigorous quality checks.
  • Buying a product that we are trying to ensure has significantly lower carbon footprint than others on the market

Edmund Bell’s products are rigorously tested to ensure they meet all the relevant technical requirements necessary for each sector they could be going into; from Retail, Hospitality, Workplace and Education, to Healthcare and Cruise.

For example:

  • The ranges meet multiple flame retardant standards from the UK and internationally.
  • The brand aims for longevity in our fabrics with relevant testing for colour fastness to light, washability and durability to wear.
  • Many ranges benefit from special properties such as Anti-Microbial, Stain Resistance or Crease Resistance finishes, plus many more.
  • The brand tries to use more natural raw materials with less environmental impacts.

All the technical specification details for each range can be viewed online, where it is available to download as well as all available test certificates to ensure you have all the relevant information for your project.

To make sure that designers, architects and specifiers have as much choice as possible when working on a new design concept, the brand offers the option to order free samples of all our fabric ranges directly from our website. Browse Edmund Bell’s wide selection of fabrics such as blackouts, dimouts, sheers, upholstery and more – and add them to your sample basket straight from the product page.

As the brand looks forward to the future, and with many consumers becoming more socially conscious and changing their shopping behaviour; sustainability in its products, Edmund Bell’s manufacturing and within the business generally, remains increasingly important to its ongoing objectives and plans.

As a business, the company is striving to be more sustainable and work with more renewable fibres that have less environmental impact whilst still offering the highest quality products available.

Many of its products are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 approved; meaning they are completely free of toxic or allergic substances. And it is working towards complying with the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code within its supply chain; an internationally recognised code of good labour practice.

Edmund Bell is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Enter UK Bathrooms Design Awards today!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Enter UK Bathrooms Design Awards today!

UK Bathrooms, one of the leading online store for premium designer bathroom products, has launched the UK Bathrooms Design Awards…

The size of your project isn’t important, from the smallest cloakroom to a spacious house bathroom, all entries for the UK Bathrooms Design Awards are welcome.

The expert panel of judges will be looking at sources of inspiration, clever use of space, product choice, overall design and lifestyle features.

Entering couldn’t be easier, you simply need to take photos of your space, preferably before, during and after shots, log onto the website and complete the online entry form. A bathroom space is not always the easiest to take photographs of so UK Bathrooms offer the following advice:

  • Prepare the space first by starting with a blank canvas and then add back in a few *lifestyle items, maybe a candle or plant
  • Ensure everything is spotless and gleaming
  • Pop the toilet lid down
  • Focus on the best feature in the space
  • Try to balance the brightness form any window by switching off flash
  • Give a sense of space by stepping back as far you can in the room
  • Check reflections in mirrors and shower screens – make sure you’re not in them
  • Try different heights but usually best angle is from waist height or from sitting down
  • Avoid unwanted corners of furniture or parts of items around the edge of your shot
  • Avoid extra photo filters try to keep as real as possible

Once you have taken your photos you only need to decide which category to enter, choosing from best design, where the prize is £500 Love 2 Shop Vouchers, best traditional bathroom or best contemporary bathroom and win Villeroy & Boch Tableware worth £500.  There are also three categories for professionals who can enter to win best architect/interior designer bathroom, best hotel/guest house/restaurant bathroom or best trades bathroom and enjoy the prize of £500 worth of products from www.ukbathrooms.com.

Graeme Borchard, Managing Director at UK Bathrooms explains: “As the leading online store for premium designer bathroom products we sell to thousands of homeowners and professionals and decided that it was time to give something back and to recognise some of the stunning bathrooms that are being created in homes and businesses across the UK.  The UK Bathrooms Design Awards have been launched to recognise innovation in bathroom design.”  Graeme continues “We are extremely grateful to our manufacturers and distributors for their help and support, these currently include Arnolds, Bayswater, Barwicks, Crosswater, hansgrohe, Keuco, Matki, Perrin & Rowe, Victoria+Albert, Villeroy & Boch, VitrA and Zehnder Bisque.”

The panel of judges will carefully consider all entries before making their decision in October 2020. For further details including full terms and conditions visit the website.

UK Bathrooms is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: UK Bathrooms/VitrA

FEATURE: the making of a Moroccan dream

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: the making of a Moroccan dream

Hotel Designs explores how design firm KAI Interiors converted an authentic Moroccan building into a timeless hotel… 

The Dar Jasmine Boutique Hotel began as a dream in owner Yasmina Markouch’s mind when she began digging to make way for the building that now stands proudly in Chefchaouen, Morocco.

After hunting for the ideal designer, she finally found KAI Interiors and we came on board to bring her dream into reality.

Kai Interiors wanted to create an authentic, welcoming boutique hotel, led by traditional techniques, taking inspiration from Moroccan style and utilising local craftspeople to produce the majority of items and finishes. It needed to be authentic, but to have a contemporary twist, so it stands apart from the other hotels in the area.

The build and fit-out itself took four years to complete. A vast amount of the elements are bespoke and handcrafted. The design is a perfect combination of Moroccan culture and traditional techniques, with a modern European edge. It is colourful and rich, yet calming and inviting. It feels elegant and luxurious, yet still feels rustic and sympathetic to the local area and surroundings. The aesthetic of the hotel sets the tone, but it was imperative that everything was practical too.

Rich green planting and Jasmine flowers feature throughout the site, enhancing the natural light and the stunning view. We aimed to incorporate the view into the interior, and integrating the inside with natural surroundings was essential. One of the special elements about this hotel is the natural setting, featuring a wonderful roof terrace space perfect for yoga sessions and enjoying the view. One side overlooks the mountains, whilst the other looks down on the Chefchaouen city below, which is sprinkled with many variations of blue painted homes. The exterior of the hotel is painted in a very pale blue, in keeping with the theme of the city. Huge windows in the restaurant allow guests to view the city below and form a smooth transition into the natural setting outside.

The restaurant and bar space is an impactful statement with dark blue tadelakt walls, contrasted with the bright exotic fabric. The lighting is a mix of hand-carved pineapple wall lights and perforated bronze pendants, designed to create delicate shadows against the walls in the evenings. Internal furniture and joinery were made by one joiner, which brought a cohesive character to the space. A stand out piece is the bar frontage, which features hand carved palm leaves.

Image credit: KAI Interiors/The Dar Jasmine Hotel

Image credit: KAI Interiors/The Dar Jasmine Hotel

The communal spaces were designed to feel like a relaxing, home environment where guests feel comfortable to roam the grounds. It was requested that guests have the opportunity to enjoy peaceful moments within the space, so small nooks and hideaways were created throughout.

The hotel rooms are all inspired by different areas of the world; this is a hotel designed both to accommodate, but also inspire, travel. All of the tiles used within the hotel were hand cut and glazed to bespoke colours, then set into bespoke patterns and shapes. Striking elements of the hotel are the marble parquet flooring, which makes a strong statement on arrival, and the many Moroccan tiles which are celebrated from room to room. Vases and pots with hand painted patterns were made by local tribes in the mountains and brought down to the city, then positioned within the hotel.

KAI Interiors is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: KAI Interiors/The Dar Jasmine Hotel

FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

The new Bespoke by Burlington collection, which was designed in collaboration with Julie Ingham, marks a ‘new era’ for the leaders in traditional bathrooms…

With the launch of Bespoke by Burlington, Bathroom Brands Group Projects has just stretched the limits of possibilities when it comes to customisation in bathroom aesthetics.

Representing a new era of classic bathroom design, Bespoke by Burlington is a distinctive and unique collection of coloured and hand-decorated ceramics. Offering true customisation, the new products provide architects, specifiers and designers with an unsurpassed level of individuality, placing Burlington at the very forefront of modern-day bathroom design, whilst remaining true to its historic influences and style.

“The new Bespoke by Burlington collection marks a really exciting turning point for us as a Group,” explained Mick Bone, Director of Group Projects at Bathroom Brands. “Burlington’s products, in particular the Edwardian collection, have long been favourites of specifiers, designers and architects, especially within the hospitality market. Now, we can offer them even more choice when it comes to customisation, whilst maintaining the enduring quality and sought after authentic traditional style that Burlington has become known for.”

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

Drawing inspiration from the decorated and coloured ceramics of bygone eras, Burlington worked in collaboration with British designer Julie Ingham to create the Bespoke by Burlington collection. Made to order by skilled craft workers in Staffordshire, in England, using the finest materials, the collection is presented on a selection of Burlington’s best-selling Edwardian basins and WCs.

From the intricate hand-illustrated patterns of the Art Deco, Floral, Seascape and Cityscape decorated designs to the bold and captivating shades of the Confetti Pink, Alaska Blue and Moon Grey ceramics, the wide choice of stunning pieces broadens Burlington’s portfolio to now encompass bolder colours and exquisite decorative details, offering the opportunity to deliver truly unique projects.

Ideal for commercial, hospitality and residential design projects, Bespoke Lettering provides the ultimate opportunity for personalisation. Customers may choose between three lettering styles and a choice of two locations on selected basin sizes in Burlington’s Edwardian basin collection, the perfect individual finishing touch a bathroom scheme.

Burlington is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Burlington

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

Reflective surfaces mirror a fascination for us all. Whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed reflection over the mantel place they each are seemingly a portal to another world. Designer Peter Mance, the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, explains…

For interior design, mirrors and reflective surfaces are a material superpower and an integral component of how MAAPS reimagines and designs space.

Once solely a mystical surface and religious metaphor for divine interpretation by Scryers and Soothsayers, mirrors are seemingly a portal to another world. As such, reflection continues to carry a residual sense of visual mystery, fascination and wonder, whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed mirror above the mantel.

In the context of architecture and interiors, mirrors retain a magical ability to bend, extend, and morph our perception of and our relationship to inhabited space. Hovering between two and three dimensions, and in the fleeting moment of transparency, mimicry, and illusion, one’s imagination and perception of reality both instantly undergo four remarkable kinds of spatial transformation through a looking glass. This is what Plato refers to as a “visual spirit” which zips from the eye to a mirror, is reflected back to the observer’s face, thence to the mirror again, and finally back to the eye…

Compressed History

The first mirrored surfaces recorded are in found in polished artifacts dating back to 600BC. Hero(n) of Alexandria (15 to 75AD), a Greek mathematician and engineer who invented the steam engine, extols the many virtues and practical applications of refraction and reflection in his work of Catoptrica.

His explorations and observations form the philosophical foundations of perception and understanding of visual reality.

Later, and more menacingly, the power of reflected light was deployed in warfare by Anthemius (of Tralles) in ~500AD. Adopting a central hexagonal mirror and an encircling corona to guide the light of the sun to a single point of focus, Anthemius created the “burning” mirror – effectively the first analogue laser capable of incinerating approaching fleets or armies.

Greek explorations seeking answers to the secret of light and perception, and later taken up by Arabic scholars, were lost; then rediscovered and translated into Latin to be studied anew throughout Europe during the Renaissance period. Murano in Italy became the epicentre of glass and subsequently mirror technology during the 15th & 16thC. It is no coincidence that Venetian artisans evolve the highly coveted skill of applying tin backing to glass sheets

As Italy’s economic dominance wains during the 17thC, France’s unrelenting desire to acquire the secrets of mirrors finally succeeds when three Murano masters are bribed and transported into France. The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles is the first dramatic spatial expression of this transfer of knowledge and breaks the Venetian monopoly of this magical surface. The captured technology of mirror making is here wielded by the Sun King as a regal platform, reflecting and multiplying the ornate splendour of this spectacular room and the expansive gardens beyond – representing a kingdom of infinite opulence.

Public/private view

Mirrors in a public place provide a collective shared view and simultaneous private view. We are constantly intrigued, anticipating what may happen consciously when these parallel views states and individual perceptions of realities collide. A tantalising, fractured kaleidoscope of splintered shards of illusionary reality are experienced as space and time are transformed by these glamourous and beguiling surfaces.

Humankind are one of the few species that can intellectually comprehend reflection and identify ourselves in a reflection. It is interesting to note that we often describe our internal mental landscape and moods using outward spatial perceptions – to reflect, to gain a sense of perspective.

The mirror is a unique facet of a noetic experience within the places in which we dwell and inhabit. Providing an internalised realm of calm meditation of what we see. Sometimes pleasurable, occasionally surprising or reassuring, often strangely disconcerting, the act of catching oneself in a reflective surface is so fundamental to our continual assessment of ourselves. The viewer, through their observation is necessary reflected, and the conscious moment of evaluation, place, and time, is instant.

Use in space

Designing with mirrors is to invite a space to transform and open. The use of a large statement mirror can make a small room appear much larger than it is, particularly if the mirror encompasses an entire wall, is placed in a central location, or even if it is shaped like a window to create the illusion of openness and space beyond.

Image caption: Jewel Hotel Guestroom, New York | Image credit: MAAPS/RHA

Depending on the size, shape, placement, and ornamentation of a mirror, it can serve a variety of different aesthetic and functional purposes in an architectural or interior setting. Mirrors can act as spatial camouflage, layering, collapsing, and disrupting the passage of light.  Within interiors mirrors can be considered as deliberate object, or as a mass surface, a portal, or as a focusing device.

Glancing views providing anticipation of approaching spaces, providing visual intrigue and pull, a sense of discovery, and self-animated movement. Mirrors positioned close to the line of the ceiling visually appropriate illusionary volumes and breath into the implied space beyond.

Image caption: Mirage installation for Hungary’s 2014 Sziget Music Festival | IMage credit: Studio Nomad

Ultimately, mirrors possess a chameleon quality and can dramatically transform a built space, where an interior either expands or dissolves and our visual experience of perception is shifted. Whether mirrors serve to accentuate an existing interior, lead you visually through to another space, tease and stimulate our curiosity, keep the imagination engaged, or simply to characterise a newly built space, they are versatile devices and instruments of light.

Mirrors in bathroom

Image caption: The Infiniti Bathroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Therefore, it is only natural as designers that we want to celebrate reflection within the interior as both a quality of physical and mental space. In a constrained bathroom, 900mm wide, we played the Infiniti game and applied mirrors to directly opposing surfaces. The smallest room transforms into a meditative space for expansive contemplation.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Soane’s s use of light and mirrors is perhaps the most captivating aspect of the museum interior for us. Many of the principle rooms are delightfully augmented and subtly rendered with natural lighting effects and carefully positioned mirrors. Perhaps seen to greatest effect in the Library, Dining Room and Breakfast Room.

Soane’s use of light is a distinctive and consistent trait of his architecture and interiors. He produced complex, multi-layered effects with light and shade by innovatively deploying forms and structure to marshal the play of light. Creatively implementing devices, still in use today, such as top-lighting, strategically aligned mirrored surfaces and vistas, along with coloured glass to transform the experience of the spaces he designed.

Soane’s spatial techniques were instrumental and one of the contextual sources of inspiration for our use of mirrors with the guestrooms at Club Quarters Lincoln’s Inn Fields hotel.

Mirrors in modern guestroom

Image caption: Club Quarters, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Alumni Guestroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Perception of light

Lebbeus Woods’ notes on “Measuring Light” (April 30, 2012) are apposite when considering our relationship and engagement with the reflected self. As with Sir John Soane, it is the handling of light that is important. “Light is a natural phenomenon the complexity of which reveals the structure of human consciousness. Objects, including building, in their absorption and reflection of light stimulate a human’s neural networks, in effect activating the brain. The more complex and nuanced the stimulation the more the brain comes to life. Shape, edge, texture, colour, shadow, highlight – play with and against one another – effectively enable the brain to make the most subtle distinctions, thereby imbuing human experiences with a richness and complexity that defines it… the perception of light is central.”

The mirror can therefore be viewed as an instrument that reveals the presence of light and therefore giving it a precise measure and place in our conception of interior space. As designers for Zoffini we have taken to heart Woods’ sensibilities of light and aligned it with Anthemius’ articulated mirror instrument to create our own variant of a “Shift Mirror”. Breaking the reflected surface, to redirect light, and to offer an altered sense of perspective.

Image caption: Shift Mirror, Crown Mirror, and Sutton Fire Surround for Zoffini | Image credit: MAAPS

In conclusion, it is not at all surprising that we have come to appreciate the mirrored surface as such a wonderful and adaptive material in the world of design. The mirror is an oddly passive, introspective, intrusive, and energetic surface. Not just because it reflects the environments and people around it, but because by the very nature of its reflective quality transforms the way we see the world that surrounds us.

Though we may have rationally put away all mystical metaphors, mirrors will remain analogous with the stuff of magic and imagination – from mirrors on walls used by manipulative stepmothers to joining Alice with her Looking Glass portal to step through into a different world.

Written and pondered while listening too: The Beat – ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, Benjamin Britten – ‘Narcissus from Six Metamorphoses after Ovid’, Need For Mirrors – ‘Reverie’, Maurice Ravel – ‘Miroirs III’, Harold Budd – ‘The Serpent in Quicksilver’, Bomb The Base – ‘So Special (Toob’s Special Special Mix), John McCarthy & Ken Currie, BBC Something Understood (06/03/2016) – ‘On Reflection’; Reading Mark Pendergrast – Mirror Mirror, Lebbeus Woods blog notes from Slow Manifesto, Jonathan Miller – On Reflection, Stefan Buzas & Richard Bryant – Sir John Soane’s Museum, Team Yellowtrace – Mesmerising Mirrors in Art & Architecture, David Hockney – Secret Knowledge… at home.

MAAPS Design and Architecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: David Hockney – Viewers Looking at a Ready-Made with Skull and Mirrors

Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

Following the industry emerging from the pandemic, lighting brand Franklite explains how guests are at the heart as the hospitality industry enters unchartered waters…

It’s important to understand how the right light can be used in different environments. For instance, in a hotel, light can be used to create an ambience and welcoming feel when paired with the right decor and natural light.

The right light can create a warm and friendly atmosphere; however, the wrong light can easily detract from a nicely decorated room.

Lighting in hotels should be installed with guests at the heart. The entire guest experience starts as soon as you arrive at the front desk of a hotel. If you are arriving late at night, the lighting should be warm and welcoming, helping you to feel relaxed and comforted. This is in contrast to when arriving in the morning, where there should be plenty of daylight or if not possible, bright white lighting, to help you feel energised and awake.

Image credit: Franklite

It’s important to make the best use of light in each space, to create a relaxing atmosphere throughout the entire hotel. For example, the lighting in the restaurant will require different lighting at different times of the day. During the day, where natural light changes are more noticeable, different scenes make it easy to adapt and maintain the right light level. At night, the lighting may be needed to assist in creating a romantic setting.

Understanding these nuances has been the key to Franklite’s success, having manufactured and distributed decorative lighting products from our purpose-built premises for more than 45 years. The brand is renowned, both in the U.K. and abroad, for the quality and versatility of its lighting, a reputation built on using only the finest components in the manufacturing process.

The lighting brand has evolved into a company offering a diverse range of decorative LED lighting products for both interior and exterior, domestic and contract applications, including all areas of hospitality and especially in hotels.

Franklite was one of the first manufacturers of energy saving chandeliers within the U.K. lighting industry. The brand understands the importance of keeping up to date with changes in regulation, the development of super-efficient light sources, and changing interior design trends.

Along with its constantly updated catalogue range, Franklite is able to offer bespoke LED lighting solutions for special projects, ensuring your design is ahead of the game and adding that ‘WOW’ factor when required. The company has dedicated contract sales and technical teams with many years of experience in lighting to assist with all your requirements.

If you would like any assistance or advice on using our products in your next project, please contact us on 01908 691818 or visit the website.

Main image credit: Franklite

 

UPDATE: Sleep & Eat goes virtual for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UPDATE: Sleep & Eat goes virtual for 2020

This year’s Sleep & Eat, which was due to physically take place at Olympia London in November, will now happen in a virtual format…

The highly anticipated Sleep & Eat event, which year-on-year welcomes designers, architects and suppliers from across the UK and Europe, has announced that the 2020 event will go ahead, but in a slightly different format.

Instead of being sheltered inside Olympia London, the event will now be rebranded as Sleep & Eat Virtual 2020, following the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the organisers said: “For 15 years Sleep & Eat has been the place where the hospitality design community connects, and we understand the importance of this in the current climate. With Sleep & Eat Virtual we are excited to create an event which will enable the industry to continue to gain inspiration, source new products, expand their knowledge and network with contacts old and new.” 

Uniquely, Sleep & Eat Virtual 2020 will also co-locate virtually with Decorex with the aim to bring the industry together on November 3 – 5. This co-location is said to offer new and exciting opportunities for both events, which will attract new audiences.

“For the industry to bounce back quickly there is a real need for us to come together in 2020 and discuss our future,” said Sleep & Event Director, Mark Gordon. “There is still a huge desire for the industry to be united, to be inspired, share knowledge, and spark planned and ad-hoc conversations. Sleep & Eat Virtual will give all the opportunity to achieve this and we are very excited.”

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat

The sleep brand that has provided quality solutions for decades

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The sleep brand that has provided quality solutions for decades

Silentnight Group is the home of the most trusted sleep brands in the bed industry, including Silentnight, the UK’s leading sleep brand and Sealy, the largest bed brand in the world. Sales Director David Lawernson explains more…

We, Silentnight Group, have been providing quality sleep solutions for the hospitality market for decades. During that time the UK Hospitality and contract market has been serviced by Silentnight Group via licence agreements with Sealy and Serta, one of the world’s leading hospitality sleep providers.

Cozy bedroom

Image credit: Silentnight Group

Our approach to innovation and sustainability has meant that new brands can now be launched which will target specific markets in the world of Hospitality with benefit led, functional sleep solutions. Developed with the client and sleeper in mind, across a portfolio of trusted brands. Silentnight Group are on a mission to help everyone get a great night’s sleep in the world of hospitality.

“Our awareness of the latest industry developments and maintaining a focus on quality, and a market leading customer service position, deliver true quality to our customers and clients.”

Through our trusted brands, expertise and scientifically proven products, we provide the right sleep solution for every hospitality occasion, whether it is a hotel, hostel, student accommodation, or the private rental sector. We also have IMO accreditation for marine based projects.

By constantly researching the science of sleep, through our in-house sleep researchers and partnership with the University of Central Lancashire we remain at the peak of sleep innovation. Our awareness of the latest industry developments and maintaining a focus on quality, and a market leading customer service position, deliver true quality to our customers and clients throughout their entire experience of working with Silentnight Group.

We recycle an incredible 90 per cent of the waste produced across our sites, for a more efficient, resourceful and responsible manufacturing process.  To ensure that we meet our stringent objectives and divert waste from landfills, all of our wood, foam quilt, foam-free quilt, paper and card, polythene film and metal waste go to local and national recycling companies.  However, we are not resting on our laurels and expect to be at 100 per cent by the end of 2020.

Black and white image of bed mattress filling

Image credit: Silentnight Group

We comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) – a government-led energy assessment scheme that requires us to audit the energy-use on all of our buildings to improve external conditions for people and wildlife.  This helps us identify cost-effective energy-saving opportunities, as well as significantly reducing our carbon footprint.  This process has resulted in us ascertaining our Carbon Neutral status.

The Silentnight Group has also officially been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  This ensures that the timber or fibre used in the divans and headboards comes from responsible sources, where trees harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally. Looking after the planet is the responsibility of us all, and we’re proud to play our part which is why we were also very proud to be the first bed company to be accredited under the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP) – which aims to improve the furniture industry’s sustainability credentials.

When you buy from a Silentnight Group brand (including Sealy UK), you can do so in the complete confidence that the materials used have been replenished in an environmentally-friendly way, be it from how we source our raw materials to how we recycle any waste or old returned beds.

When manufacturing the beds, we respect the time-honoured lessons of traditional bed and mattress making, combined with innovation and new technology to deliver a product that offers the best of both worlds.

“Hygiene, cleanliness, fire retardancy and functionality are just as important as the comfort and support of a bed.”

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a real need for hospitality properties to be able to demonstrate its cleanliness to customers and suppliers, now more than ever, need to step up and support the industry. Our innovation and new product development is very much focused on this. Hygiene, cleanliness, fire retardancy and functionality are just as important as the comfort and support of a bed and ours are provided by a team of hospitality bed industry experts. The products are also tested at the on-site state-of-the-art testing laboratory that is independently accredited and indeed is one of only ten SATRA and ISO: 9001 accredited labs in the UK. This ensures that each and every purchase from the Silentnight Group can be trusted, safe and procured in the knowledge that it comes from an ethical organisation that manufactures in a sustainable way from a team that endeavour to make the process as simple as possible whilst aiming to provide 100 per cent user satisfaction.

As home to the UK’s leading bed and mattress manufacturers, we are committed to working to the highest standards, and you can trust that our products are clean, safe and durable. This is how we deliver total peace of mind to all of our hospitality partners and their customers.

Main image credit: Silentnight Group

STAY luxury accomodation

FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

The extended stay portion of the lodging business continues to see strong demand. But are extended stay brands doing enough to keep up with travellers’ evolving tastes and needs? Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Sam Ghosh, Vice President at STAY

A few weeks ago, during Hotel Designs LIVE, former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury boldly told me that the hotel model as we know it will change forever in the post-pandemic world.

STAY luxury accomodation

With this in mind, I caught up with Sam Ghosh, who is the Vice President of STAY, a residential brand offering serviced apartments in iconic and well-connected locations that shelters the comforts and convenience of home, while combining the luxuries of a boutique hotel. With the recent opening of STAY Camden and with new properties on the horizon, Ghosh seemed like an apt person to speak to in order to understand the ever-evolving needs and demands of modern travellers.

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Hamish Kilburn: Hi Sam! So, we have identified that there’s a growing accommodation trend of ‘hometels’, but how does STAY fit within this landscape?

Sam Ghosh: STAY is the residential brand from LABS Collective. Located in Hawley Wharf, STAY residences cater to extended stays offering access to LABS flexible workspaces, which is particularly beneficial for business travellers. The design led  apartments are created to optimise sleep, productivity, and play, ideal for the mobile workforce. 

STAY is a brand that was born with the hybrid ethos in mind – rooms are complete with kitchens with considered design. Guests can also enjoy a concierge service, housekeeping, and premium facilities such as access to a gym. Residents are actively encouraged to make use of the generous communal areas plus it’s on the doorstep of one of London’s most exciting new developments, Hawley Wharf, when it opens in late 2020.

As we emerge out of lockdown, we’re actually seeing a higher demand for serviced apartment living and flexible office space strengthening. Hawley Wharf offers this cautious half step between home and returning full time to offices. Cutting out the commute with STAY and offering a variety of community areas and programming in LABS, we are providing room for people to feel comfortable together again. With careful safety and hygiene adaptations to the space we are creating a comfortable environment for people to re-socialise and feel part of a community.

HK: Can you explain the design scheme inside a STAY property? 

SG: The head of architecture and design for LABS Collective, Yaara Gooner, is the creative eye behind our carefully designed spaces. She leads a team of dedicated in-house designers and architects that magically transform our properties, whether LABS workspaces or STAY residences, to create hubs of enterprise, designed for wellbeing, productivity, and growth. 

The design of STAY Camden holds the need for our long-term guests to relax, work and entertain. Each apartment has been designed to provide superior comfort to each guest, created by combining natural materials, including marble, stone and natural oak with soft furnishings and brass touches. The majority of our furniture has been sourced by Menu, a Scandinavian design brand providing a distinct Nordic influence across the property. 

Within the communal areas, plants also complement the warm colour palette. Nature is imperative to our design process and plants are used for their aesthetic quality and ability to increase productivity, memory retention and decrease stress. They’re also fundamental to creating safe and healthy spaces for our guests and members. Owing to their air purifying qualities we have selected greenery for our public spaces, known to absorb 75 per cent of airborne pollutants. 

Luxury room

Image credit: STAY Camden

HK: Can you tell us more about the new safety measures in place?

SG: As a business, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests and new standards have been incorporated into LABS Collective’s shared workspaces and serviced apartment environments. The measures in place remain so long as the threat of COVID-19 does, but also inform our strategic approach to design and operations in the long term. STAY Camden in fact remained open and operational since the pandemic began, accepting new bookings for guests seeking mid to long term accommodation, prioritising those categorised as key workers or those displaced from their primary place of residence. 

We have gone above and beyond the recommended Government guidelines, elevating our standards to ensure that members and guests can enjoy our spaces with total confidence and to support the wellbeing of our whole community. As an example, at Hawley Wharf, Camden where LABS members and STAY guests share the same entrance, visitor screenings are in operation on arrival as well as one-way systems to ensure seamless movement throughout the building for all.

For our STAY residences, we have totally reworked our guest protocols to translate the best practices in safety and hygiene standards to the apartments whilst providing comfortable accommodation that feels like home. These new measures include reduction of touch points across STAY’s three apartment buildings, including the use of a digital link to pay instead of the regular chip and pin machine, and digitising the guest registration form to reduce the proximity of interaction needed at the time of guest check-in.

A barrier spray is applied to all furniture that provides long term coverage to kill pathogens on contact. Upon guest check out, the apartments receive a 48 hour deep clean, including the use of Pro Zone machines to cleanse the air and eliminate bacteria. In preparation for new arrivals a ‘seal of reassurance’ will be applied to the front door of each apartment. Guests will have to physically break the seal to enter the apartment, safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been entered into after a deep clean.

“We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.” – Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY.

HK: You mention an increase in the demand of guests/members wanting to use the Hawley Wharf campus due to the LABS and STAY offering. Are you doing anything further to aid this flexibility of working and living?

SG: With many central London offices remaining shut into the Autumn and beyond, we know that businesses are looking for shorter obligations and for safe spaces to bring their workforce back in comfort in residential zones. We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.

Recognising the important part that flexible workspaces are playing in this transition to normality, LABS and STAY have launched a new membership which offer a cautious half-way step between working from home and returning fully to the office. Residential spaces like STAY which allow access to LABS flexible workspaces cut out the commute and the vast community areas provide ample room for people to feel comfortable together again. The STAY at LABS membership starts at £2,425 a month and includes a one bedroom apartment at STAY Camden and a Roaming membership providing access to all LABS workspaces. 

We are also working to put additional measures in place across all our LABS spaces in London where we have on-site provisions (such as showers and bike storage) for those walking and cycling to work. To support entrepreneurs and start-ups returning to the workplace successfully, LABS has set up a new incubator initiative which provides discounted office space for qualifying small businesses. Initiatives like this will be integral to a future generation of thriving companies and talent.

Main image credit: STAY Camden

Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the team behind hotel design community, Design Equals

With a unique model based on bringing a network of creatives together, Design Equals is a community transforming hotel interiors. BAHA in The Lake District is just one of many examples…

Founder Katie McCarthy has an extensive career history including a long stint as Interior Design Director at The Resort Group. Here, she managed projects such as Midland Hotel, The Grosvenor, Michelin Star boutique hotel Hampton Manor and several 5-star resorts in Cape Verde.

With a lifelong ambition to operate her own design studio combined with a deep passion for supporting up and coming creatives, she founded Design Equals in December 2018 from her kitchen table.

With a uniquely holistic approach to interior design for hospitality and residential industries, Katie and her team exist to implement the power of design to make a business-critical difference. Katie said: “I founded Design= to capitalise on the freelance design community which in and around the UK, is incredibly talented and diverse.

“We believe that making interior spaces look fabulous is just the beginning; the end result should be nothing less than a transformed and multi-sensory customer experience, delivering your desired commercial outcome.

“We blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.”

One of the team’s first project after being founded is a fond memory and now, a huge success story.

Bar and restaurant BAHA. The team transformed a local bar in the Lake District to a must visit destination which jaw dropping interior, reflective of its surroundings with a modern twist and the ability to transition its atmosphere as the day goes on.

Floral eye-catching wallcovering in pink restaurant

Image caption: Asian Fusion restaurant, BAHA in the Lake District designed by Design Equals.

The business, BAHA, now boasts a unique offering of Asian Fusion food in surroundings you would expect to find in the heart of London. However, it is in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere, a town usually known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations.

McCarthy said; “The concept for BAHA came from its surroundings. The Lake District is renowned for magical tales, wildlife and beautiful landscapes. We wanted to capture this whimsical feel with a modern twist for BAHA. Something quirky and fun you would find in a bustling city with a nod to the culture and heritage of the local area. The venue has three floors and offers everything from casual drinks to dining and events and the interior is suitable for each cycle of the day, from morning coffees to late, lively evenings.”

“Design Equals’ vision for us allowed us to be unique and different from the typical Lake District bar or restaurant which can be a little dated,” said owner Owner Stephen Hargreave. “We knew if we were to create a fresh exciting place to go in the lakes with good music and great food – creating the best atmosphere – then tourists, locals and passing trade would be drawn to us. Since the refurbishment we’ve seen an increase in footfall by 25 per cent.”

Birds and nature inspired interiors in restaurant

Image caption: The creative and characterful interiors inside BAHA, designed by Design Equals.

McCarthy added: “Since the start of our journey as Design Equals, we have been fortunate enough to work on some great hospitality projects.

“Working with Design= means joining the creative community that is right for your project.  A community in which everyone, supports each other through the good and the bad – and feels empowered to deliver the best outcome for you.”

Finding the right creative design solutions for you is the essence of everything we do: inspiring our community of professionals, making the difference every client desires, so you get a single source of outstandingly creative interior design solutions.

At Design = we blend exceptional experience, deep knowledge and a wealth of resources to solve our clients’ business challenges. We back this up with dedicated support at every stage of every project. We are here to help you maximise your profitability and grow your business.

To speak to the team about transforming your vision visit www.designequals.co.uk.

Design Equals is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Image credit: Design Equals

Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside IHG’s debut Hotel Indigo property in Cyprus

The 40-key Hotel Indigo Larnaca marks IHG Hotels & Resorts first Hotel Indigo and the second IHG property in Cyprus…

Days after announcing its arrival in Verona, IHG Hotels & Resorts opens Hotel Indigo Larnaca, which is the first and only Hotel Indigo in Cyprus. 

Each of the hotel’s 40 guestrooms are all uniquely designed and inspired by Cyprus’s craft heritage with balconies overlooking the picturesque city of Larnaca. Just a five-minute drive from the airport, the hotel is centrally located in one of Larnaca’s most historic areas, near the church of St. Lazarus and close to Finikoudes and Mackenzie beaches.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Within walking distance to the beach, the hotel combined two traditional Cypriot beach homes into a new hotel, marrying design elements from both old and new. The guestrooms have a modern yet contemporary feel by merging raw concrete with locally – made, brightly – coloured traditional textiles and light wooden furnishings. The en-suite bathrooms have spa-like rain showers, with brushed concrete flooring and original Cypriot tiling. All the balconies are fitted with traditional Mediterranean yellow shutters, reminiscent of old Cyprus, and mimicking the sunset amongst the surrounding mountains.

Hotel Indigo Larnaca also offers a stunning rooftop pool and Kampana Pool Bar with breathtaking views of the sea. The regionally inspired onsite restaurant, Avli, and the Oinotelia wine bar, are conveniently situated on the ground floor and are a destination for locals, tourists, and guests.

Image credit: Hotel Indigo

Mr. Savvas Kakos, President and CEO of Quality Group, said: “At Quality Group we are extremely happy and proud to welcome one of the most renowned hotel groups to the city of Larnaca. Unique and intriguing by definition, and one of the world’s largest boutique brands, Hotel Indigo is now part of the wider area of Saint Lazarus and a perfect addition to the heart of the city. On behalf of Quality Group, I convey my strong faith and certainty that this brand-new and organic collaboration with IHG and Hotel Indigo will leave its mark on the hotel industry in Cyprus.”

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood. Hotel Indigo Larnaca takes in the rich history of the Agios Lazaros area and is ideal for romantic getaways and caters to the most seasoned traveller. 

Hotel Indigo Larnaca will operate under the international agreement between IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the largest hotel groups in the world, Sunnyseeker Hospitality which is the fastest growing hotel management company and Quality Group, one of the largest companies of land development and investment on the island.

There are currently 119 Hotel Indigo properties open globally including the recently opened Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, with another 104 in the pipeline to open in the next three to five years. 

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

PRODUCT WATCH: Aqualisa zones into the smart bathroom

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PRODUCT WATCH: Aqualisa zones into the smart bathroom

The use of technology as part of the hotel bathroom experience has taken a giant leap forward with Aqualisa, the showering innovation brand…

Personalisation is the mantra and while bespoke services surely must lie at the heart of the modern hotel offering, the bathroom has lagged behind in terms of an enhanced personal experience, which is surprising when showering and bathing have always been such significant differentiators when it comes to  guest evaluation of hotel quality.

Of course, coronavirus too has accelerated the need for technology solutions that will give guests greater peace of mind in terms of personal safety and control, especially when it comes to zero touch facilities.

With the introduction of the first truly smart shower, Aqualisa has developed a genuinely contactless shower and bath fill solution that will completely change the hotel bathroom experience. Full wifi connectivity that allows activation from anywhere and a smart app menu to control flow, temperature and duration at last aligns the hotel bathroom experience to what consumers are increasingly demanding in their daily lives. “Turn on my shower” will be heard more and more in a hotel environment that will have to focus on private rather than communal areas to provide the premium customer experience.

Aqualisa’s leadership in digital showering, based on groundbreaking touch technology, dates back to 2001 and now takes showering forward into the smart revolution based on mobile and the IoT. Two smart ranges, the Quartz and Q Collections, both offer a full menu of shower settings which can be individually selected and managed from a smart device. A variety of modern and compact product design options, all connected and voice activated via Google Home and Amazon Alexa, will look good in all types of room style.

Image credit: Aqualisa

As well as the sheer convenience and indulgence, there are some clear commercial advantages of smart showering in terms of both installation and running costs. The intelligent Aqualisa SmartValve, which is the brains of the system, is sited away from the showering area for easy access but also freeing up more space in the showering area itself. It makes retrospective upgrades easy and straightforward as well as improving the design aesthetic. Perhaps even more compelling in the post Covid economy is the ability of hotel management to centrally monitor water usage and costs, if necessary, adjusting the water flow through hotel bathrooms

If millennials expect smart technology, future generations won’t know anything different and the hotel bathroom, always the litmus test for comfort and well-being, is where the opportunity lies to create an experience zone which plays to the increasingly personal needs of paying guests.

If you would like to talk more about smart showers contact Colin Sinclair on 07801 579958. For further information on Aqualisa’s smart shower collections visit the website or email projects@aqualisa.co.uk.

Main image credit: Aqualisa

Inspired by Japanese design: ION by Woven Image

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Inspired by Japanese design: ION by Woven Image

Inspired by the intricate beauty of Japanese design, Woven Image’s ION is the latest edition to a series of tactile wall panel that Hotel Designs has got its hands on… 

Woven Image continues to innovate with the introduction of ION a beautiful embossed wall panel which is part of the Exquiste Evolution June 2020 product release.

Acoustic panels for the workplace environment, which modern travellers are now demanding in tomorrow’s lifestyle hotel, aren’t normally renowned for their originality, but Woven Image’s version interweave cutting-edge design with sustainability, reinventing interior acoustic panelling for the modern workplace.

A Japanese inspired tactile wall behind modern desk setup

Image credit: Woven Image

Evolving from the well-known hero product EchoPanel, ION is the second design in a growing collection of tactile wall panels designed for commercial interiors which follows on from the recent launch of  Zen a vertical, rib-style textured wall panel. An innovation in non-woven wall panelling, Zen & Ion are specially designed to provide floor to ceiling acoustic solutions for commercial office interiors. Inspired by Modern Japonisme, the tactile wall panels reference the clean-lined, minimal, aesthetic long associated with Japan.

A black Japanese inspired tactile wall behind modern wooden desk setup

Image credit: Woven Image

ION has a sophisticated textured design evoking an asymmetrical crystalline effect which is inspired by the geometric shapes of origami and folded paper. A theme which encompasses the simplicity of a Japanese design as referenced with Zen’s corrugated design from a Zen garden.

ION is comprised of 100 per cent PET which is 60 per cent recycled with a recycled non-woven backing and a coloured surface Mura (non-woven wallcovering) which is embellished with a compressed face. Dimensions of 2800mm high by 1130mm wide, allows the back of the panel to remain flat for ease of install for floor to ceiling applications. ION has been trimmed with a straight edge on all four sides to allow for an almost seamless finish and pattern match for continuous wall and double-height application. This allows ION to have the ability to be installed top to bottom as well as side by side.

ION is available in seven colourways from a deep onyx hue to mid-tone duck egg blue, peach blush, vineyard green as well as the classic neutrals of pebble, frost and cream.

Performing to commercial Industry standards for interior wall linings, ION achieves excellent environmental credentials, including Global GreenTag (GreenRate Level A), with the use of post-industrial waste streams and low VOC emissions.

Woven Image is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Woven Image

IN PICTURES: OKKO Hotels’ new design-led guestroom concept

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IN PICTURES: OKKO Hotels’ new design-led guestroom concept

On July of 2019, in the heart of Paris, along the platform No. 2 at Gare de l’Est, OKKO Hotels unveiled its second generation guestroom concept, designed by Studio Catoir, which chose two models from the Ligne Roset Contract collection as testimonies of a strongly claimed design ambition…

The concept of OKKO Hotels’ second generation guestroom is adapted to the use for a single person, as well as the use for a couple. Concretely, this means separated toilets, more storage space and redesigned ergonomics. The sleeping area has also been re-thought. Many changes had been made in line with sustainable development: choice of materials, implementation of sorting and recycling, use of water fountains. The wish to use natural materials, sometimes raw materials, has been kept. The idea of integrating the codes of interior design into hotel language also remains, by the choice of iconic pieces that are no longer used to being discovered in a nice apartment or a hotel. The choice of the Andrey lamp, design by the Studio Catoir and edited by Ligne Roset, with it design all in finesse and elegance is a great example.

Like most of the international luxury brands, the history of Ligne Roset is rooted in the French craft heritage. In 160 years, the brand has become the symbol of an elegance if life, the imprint of a luxury signed by the greatest contemporary design talents around the world. Ligne Roset, the leading creator-manufacturer-distributor of contemporary French furniture showcases nowdays a whole art of living through its full collection of seats, cabinet, decorative items, lightings, rugs, fabrics and know how to decline, adapt and blend in the bespoke décor imagined by architects and interior designers. It is the expertise of Ligne Roset Contract which is expressed today in the drawings of the Studio Catoir for Okko Hotels. For Okko Hotels, collaborating with a French brands which has an expertise that brilliantly combines craftsmanship and technicality is a strong guarantee of quality.

You will find in the bedrooms the Audrey light, the Rocher chair and Nubo desk.

The hats of the actress Audrey Hepburn inspired Studio Catoir for this lamp which combines great sophistication and resolutely design. A true piece of design, which brings a touch of refinement to the sleeping area of the hotel bedroom.

Image credit: Ligne Roset/OKKO Hotels

Iconic piece by the Berlin duo Hertel & Klarhoefer, manufactured by Ligne Roset, the chair Rocher adopts a fractal design, characterised by a faceted construction. The surface of the shell (seat / back and armrests) seems cut like a diamond. On four white lacquered legs, it brings a feeling of lightness as well as comfort and elegantly complements the office space.

With Nubo, designed by GamFratesi, aesthetic astonishment is provided by the unexpected meeting of the ‘déjà vu’ and a surprising new element: the simple spacesaving wall shelf metamorphoses into a treasure box, evocative of a suitcase such as the Air France blue fabric travelling case of the 1960s. Its rounded cloud shape and luminous yet warm association of natural oak and sky blue wool fabric also fall into the same vintage Scandinavian register.

Ligne Roset is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Ligne Roset/OKKO Hotels

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

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Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

Timothy Oulton is a British designer who has mastered the ‘anything is possible’ approach greater than most when it comes to interior and product design. Hotel Designs gets comfortable in the Apollo to learn its secrets… 

Nothing epitomises the ‘anything is possible’ ethos that Timothy Oulton Studio is famous for better than Apollo.

It is a unique environment modelled to scale on the Apollo 11 spacecraft, encapsulated in a polished stainless steel shell and featuring luxurious, fully customisable interiors created in-house and by hand by the brand’s skilled cohort of makers and craftspeople.

Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

Recent research points to just 16 per cent of holiday goers now considering trips abroad, yet the urge to escape the new normal is a powerful force. For the luxury and ultra-luxury hotelier the question of how best to create an experience capable of satisfying this desire, wherever in the world, is more pertinent than ever.

As a commercial interior design studio serving the hotel and hospitality industry, this question is one the Timothy Oulton Studio team has considered from its own perspective. Since the global Covid-19 pandemic took hold, studio founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws have been asking themselves what the changed future looks like for a market as vital as the travel and hospitality industry, and for the individual businesses that operate within it.

“Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one.”

The practice is responsible for delivering unforgettable design concepts that enable its clients to attract, engage and wow visitors – impacting revenue streams by offering unmatched experiences. A potential answer to the question of what next? Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one. 

An outdoor iteration of the Apollo is something Timothy Oulton Studio has been asked for on numerous occasions. Now, after a year of research, development and prototyping, it is ready to be bought to market and – when the ability to be outdoors in small numbers holds great influence over decisions about where we go and how – the launch seems appropriately timed.

“A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways.”  – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio

For hotels with surrounding land or existing glamping facilities the outdoor Apollo creates a phenomenal point of difference in the luxury market, while larger businesses can use it is an attention-grabbing centrepiece inside or out. At Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen the Apollo is used as a private dining space, enabling small group to drink and eat separately within the buzzy atmosphere of the wider restaurant – this is something that the studio team is expecting more of, as Laws explains. “Now more than ever people want to get away, both physically and metaphorically, and I think perhaps hoteliers are seeing an opportunity to facilitate that for people within their own countries, removing the need to jump on a plane,” he says. “A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways. 

“Being so unique and visually impactful also helps clients understand the value of this particular design – Instagrammability is front of mind for almost everyone in the industry. If it was prevalent before the pandemic it can only be more so now our circumstances have changed and we are out and about less frequently. You only have to take a glance at the breadstreetkitchen hashtag to see what a difference this kind of design makes to the popularity of a business.”

The Apollo can be viewed and bought at Timothy Oulton, Bluebird, 350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU.

Timothy Oulton Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio/Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

PRODUCT WATCH: A floor for tomorrow’s hotel

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PRODUCT WATCH: A floor for tomorrow’s hotel

Granorte’s Trendcollection makes the beauty, sustainability and performance of cork flooring accessible to today’s hotels. From traditional cork tiles right through to printed designs using the latest solid rigid core technology, it’s a formidable collection that brings cork right up to date…

Nowhere is this better captured than in DESIGNTrend, a floor that combines the latest technology with cork’s natural, sustainable and renewable status.

Through direct digital print and a textured WEARTOP finish, DESIGNTrend brings the look and feel of wood with the ease of LVT without cutting down trees or containing any plastic.

Updated for 2020 with new looks, DESIGNTrend uses proven Uniclic joints for fast and easy installation, just like any laminate or click LVT, but also features a high-density natural cork composite wear layer and 1mm cork base layer for a warmer and quieter home. Treated with Microban® anti-bacterial protection, DESIGNTrend provides homes with a floor that’s not only easy to live with and kinder on the planet, but more hygienic too.

Paulo Rocha, product and R&D manager, Granorte, says: “Cork is a great material to work with, with numerous applications, and is certainly a material that resonates with today’s homeowners. Cork is no longer just about the ‘old fashioned’ glue-down tiles of old, it is a material that offers genuine benefits and designs that not only break convention but perhaps more importantly, fit with convention.

“DESIGNTrend exemplifies cork’s adaptability with the wood effects made popular by LVT and laminate, but without using any plastic and bringing all the acoustic, thermal and sustainable benefits of natural cork. As a plus, there’s no compromises in fitting, performance or ease of living either.”

DESIGNTrend is now available in 16 wood effects with oak in a wide-ranging palette of oak and the exclusivity of Larch Spice. Comfortable, quiet, warm, hardwearing, hygienic, telegraph-free and plastic-free; this is a collection made for today’s environmentally conscious hotels.

Granorte is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Granorte

FEATURE: The benefits of bespoke when designing fitness areas

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FEATURE: The benefits of bespoke when designing fitness areas

In the post-pandemic world, hotel spas and fitness areas will need to work harder in their meaningful design schemes to meet modern travellers’ demands for safe and clean environments. The wellness designers at Gym Marine explain the benefits of designing bespoke…

Fitness facilities within the hospitality sector are often stuck between that of a commercial environment and a luxury environment.

A public area, gyms are often a prime reason people book a hotel and are particularly important if the hotel wants 5-star credentials as they need a gym. Therefore, it can’t be an area that lets the rest of the design down because the equipment is made for a 24hr gym rather than a luxurious environment. This can be a struggle for hotels, as traditional gym equipment is designed for commercial settings, where aesthetics is second to function. However, with the demand for luxury gym equipment continuously increasing, manufacturers are making equipment that is as beautiful as it is functional.

As part of their brand identity, hotels will have specific colours which form part of the property’s design. Boutique hotels are very reliant on interior design to differentiate themselves and get guests through the door. Incorporating their brand and unique interior style into their gym design will ensure a cohesive feel throughout the hotel, enhancing both their profile and guest’s experience.

One range of gym equipment that has been designed with luxury environments in mind is GM Custom. Created by the specialist wellness designer Gym Marine, their years of experience of designing and installing gyms in high-end locations gave them the insight on how to produce unique fitness equipment. First to be launched was the Classic and Diabolo Dumbbells, since then the range has been continuously expanding and now includes a Rack, Bench and Wallbars.

Each piece is bespoke, with a choice of materials to choose from such as woods and metals which are popular within many interiors and will complement the décor of the hotel. Alternatively, if there is a specific design element that features throughout the hotel, this can be featured within the GM Custom equipment as well. For that complete customisation, the kit can be branded with a hotel name or logo, adding an element of exclusivity whilst strengthening the brand.

Alongside the GM Custom range of items is the made-to-order aide of business where they undertake custom equipment designs for hotel gyms. Essential when an off the shelf solution doesn’t work. A few years ago, whilst working on the gym at the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park, Gym Marine were asked to incorporate a half rack and lifting platform into a space overlooking the swimming pool where there was a glass alcove. The alcove was slightly too small for a traditional half rack, in as much as you couldn’t get around the side of the frame to take the weight plates off. In this instance, they were able to create a bespoke piece which was slightly slimmer than usual and had angled weight plate holders to ensure easy access.

The principles of gym design which they incorporate across all of their projects are perhaps best suited to hotel designs – striking the perfect balance between luxury finishes and creating a functional space which has training options for everyone. GM Custom as a range helps solve this problem, as the freedom to offer bespoke pieces allows to break free of limitation to designs caused by aesthetic or space requirements.

Gym Marine is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Gym Marine

IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

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IN PICTURES: Italy’s Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa opens

The sensitively designed 11-key boutique jewel has opened in the heart of Italy’s White City, Ostuni, Puglia…

With Covid-19 stalling its inaugural opening, the team at Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa are finally able to officially open the doors.  The elegantly restored red palace in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni, has been meticulously restored to boast 11 individually curated rooms, meaning guest numbers are naturally limited and exclusive takeovers are possible. 

Standing in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of Ostuni, Paragon 700’s red brick façade cocoons a lush garden and swimming pool, a rare green space in the heart of the city, offering a spacious, tranquil and exclusive oasis, just a five-minute walk from the main square. 

The Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa team painstakingly restored every inch of the former Italian palace using traditional handcrafted techniques, while injecting a splash of modern flair. French parquet flooring extends throughout all 11 rooms and suites, which feature stonewashed bed linen, cathedral ceilings, period frescos and fireplaces.

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Naturally, each guestroom is different, some offering terraces, balconies or in the case of the Paragon Suite, a sunken bathtub and private terrace with sun loungers. Guests who fall in love with the chic interiors will be delighted to discover that they can buy select furniture and décor to take home as the ultimate holiday memento. Any sold pieces will be replaced by the boutique hotel’s stylish owners, who will be happy of an excuse to indulge their passion for sourcing eclectic items.  

The hotel brings a fresh taste to Ostuni, with the opening of Restaurant 700. Head chef Giovanni Cerroni, the protégé of Michelin-starred Paulo Airaudo, offers an enticing menu that celebrates outstanding local ingredients and cuisine. Open to guests and locals alike, this new venue, including the quirky Bar 700, will offer an intimate dining experience, with impeccable service and the finest local vintages from the hotel’s impressive wine cellar.

As the only hotel in the heart of the White City to offer a swimming pool and garden, Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa will also be an unrivalled haven for guests looking to unwind and recharge. The palace’s former water chamber has been transformed into a unique spa offering a Turkish bath, Himalayan salt wall, multi-sensory shower and a natural whirlpool dug into the ground. 

Image credit: 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The team at the hotel have put in place a full range of cleanliness and safety measures in light of Covid-19, including daily temperature checks for staff and for guests on arrival, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those who wish to enjoy this exciting new boutique hotel. 

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

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How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

With ‘Finding your lane’ being a topic that Hotel Designs will explore in the first episode of DESIGNPOD, we asked Samantha Crockett, Director of Harris Jackson Interior Design Studio, what makes her design unique…

Very recently an acquaintance of mine Jacqueline Goddard of Atticus Arts wrote an article for her blog & LinkedIn asking, “What was our USP?”.

It struck a chord with me as, while in lockdown, I have been trying to find a way to differentiate myself from other small Hospitality design studios out there.

What makes me unique in an industry that is saturated by designers that have been through the design school/University system? What can I offer my client that makes me differ from all the rest?

Jacqueline states: “What differentiates us from another is our life’s experiences”. Undoubtedly these experiences will be unique to every individual.  My instinct is that no client can decide whether they want to take on my services unless they can resonate with what I have to say. And by that, I mean, what is behind my passion for hospitality design? Why do I do what I do and how did I get here? What makes me? What makes me an informed designer that will create & inspire. Why should a hotelier approach me to design their hotel, members club, Golf club, show home to name but a few?

Firstly, my love on interiors and design stems back to when as a young child l would build Lego models of my ideal home which then shifted into creating my own interior design projects in sketchbooks, tracing textile designs from Colefax & Fowler and drawing differing scales of pattern to place into a space. This was usually my then minuscule bedroom in my family home in West London. I constantly had my head in a sketchbook drawing and sketching what I saw around me. I wish to this day I had the time to still do this.

However, alongside this love of anything design related was my passion for live performance, theatrical arts and film. I would devour the old black and white films from “To kill a Mockingbird “ to “12 Angry men” to Some like it hot”. I would sing and dance & memorise all the routines from the Hollywood film musicals such as “Oklahoma”, “Oliver “& “Cabaret”. My family would spend spectacular evenings in London to see the latest big musical show that had hit the West End. Even to this day I remember the feeling of excitement as, sitting on those plush red velvet seats, the lights dimmed, and the curtains drew back to reveal stunning sets and characters while the orchestra launched into their overture. Those days of peering over the seat in front, chin resting on hands, stays with me to this day.  That feeling of need to distance my actual surroundings and the story unfolding and the sheer joy that was beheld in that proscenium arch in front of me.

With a mother & grandmother, ballerinas in large scale Ballet productions pre and post war Europe accompanying Anna Pavlova & several other family members working as empresarios, my love of theatre and spectacle was entrenched in my psyche.

Rather than follow the traditional route into Interior design by studying at University or one of the established private schools such as KLC or Inchbald. I followed my heart by studying Set & Costume design combining my 2 passions design & theatre. Whilst studying, my Saturdays were spent working my way round every department of what was then Terence Conran’s Habitat. The interiors bug re-awakened.

What my studies taught me was that at every moment theatrical design has to resonate with the audience, to create an emotional reaction, depict a story, which in turn allowed for a longstanding memory. We had to work with the script to develop the character through setting, costume, texture, colour, sound & light. Create the world in which these characters lived & breathed. I can still recall so many details of the sets from the various productions I saw through the 80’s & 90’s down to the intricate detailing in the handmade period or contemporary costumes created for individual characters. My professional career took me to the worlds of Cole Porter & Bob Fosse musicals as well as French restoration comedies through to 1950’s American comedic theatre. They all have contributed over the years to this wealth of reference and the attention to detail stands me in good stead to this day when specifying the FF&E for projects I have worked and collaborated on.

Theatre is all about working as a team, it is a collaboration. One cannot work without the other. Just like in hospitality interiors. The designer cannot create without the client, the brand, the contractors and ultimately without the final experience that the hotelier/group want to impact on the guest. I learnt how to deal with personalities from directors to lead actors recently moved over from LA to tread the boards after decades of Hollywood film work. One cannot underrate the nerves that even the highest paid performers experience when stepping out onto that stage again. We had to reassure, understand & above all, listen. A skill often forgotten.

So, in hotel design how can we create these memories & experiences that will last a lifetime inspiring the guest to come back for more and how do we translate them into the hotel interior? We, the designer, have to tap into that unseen, sometimes un-describable reaction that we get from a given environment, location or atmosphere. Once we have succeeded, we are creating long lasting memories for hundreds of end users who we hope to entice back for another unforgettable stay.

Image caption: The Clubhouse Shanghai

Not only was my background in design and theatre a pre-cursor to my now passion for hospitality environments. But after graduating a stint in the Sales & marketing of luxury interior products instilled me with a desire to keep learning about innovative products & manufacturing. I learnt about the procurement process, what can be achieved by working alongside suppliers, manufacturers & crafts people to create a given look within a budget. It taught me how to design beautifully bespoke details that run through my work today. A move into Interior design in the early 00’s brought a number of years designing high end residential interiors, but it was always the hotels that drew my attention.

Image caption: The lobby inside St Regis Dubai

With this product knowledge came a sound sense of style and design history. I can be given any brief placed throughout time and place and produce an interior that demonstrates both a correct historical reference point but also empathy. Just imagine walking into a Lobby area where the whole effect takes your breath away! This is not just interior design but pure theatre!

One cannot realistically expect to understand what the client wants in a brand/Interior unless you understand human emotion, desires, ambitions, history, religion and culture. I often write about how important the locality and community are for a boutique hotel brand. Maximising on what is local to the property both geographically and naturally as well as culturally. My many travels and experience of living and working both in the Middle East (Dubai) and Asia (Hong Kong) have introduced me to many distinct and different design styles and cultures. How can I design an authentic space if I have no point of reference? How will my design be believed or resonate with the guest if I have not travelled to or experienced the culture? While designing luxury hotels across Asia I was called on to draw on my expertise in classical European interiors & architecture for a palatial project in Dubai. Whether right or wrong it was my heritage and European education that benefited this collaboration.

Image caption: Conclusion? This is me!

So, when considering what is “my” USP within this exceptional industry and what makes me distinctive, I quote another acquaintance Clare Farthing, business strategy coach, who I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years: “You are your business”. My USP is my life’s journey and everything that is encompassed within that. No other individual will build on the same training, life experiences and responses. So, when I look back at what I have accomplished it is definitely with a sense of uniqueness that I am what I am and bring to the table a “rich theatre of life”.

Harris Jackson Design is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Harris Jackson Design

Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

On June 23, Hotel Designs hosted its first ever virtual conference. To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed tech influencer and the former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury to discuss technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

Following a warm welcome from editor Hamish Kilburn to officially launch Hotel Designs LIVE – and quick-fire Q&A round with the event’s headline partner, Technological Innovations Group – Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

“The last 10 weeks have defined the next 10 years of innovation.” – Jason Bradbury

Sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, the session started by Bradbury suggesting that the current coronavirus crisis  – and indeed all cultural changes in the past – opened up an opportunity for new technology to be utilised in the hotel experience. Using the case study of Bainland Park, which is a luxury escape just a few miles from his home in Lincoln, Bradbury explained how the resort is redesigning its concept to dissolve the conventional public areas altogether. “Bainland Park is completely self-sufficient, ideal for the post-corona consumer, and the architecture and design really does set the scene,” he said. “Before lockdown, the owners were intending to renovate the public areas. However, as a result of the pandemic, and the change of consumer demands, they are now eliminating the the communal areas completely. What’s most interesting is that this change has been driven in the last 10 weeks alone.”

“Technology that offer peace of mind and wellbeing are going to be central to the buying experience from consumers.” – Jason Bradbury

Another case study that Bradbury referred to when predicting technology’s role in the future hotel experience was Eccleston Square, a tech-savvy  boutique gem that sits in the heart of London. With the aim being to understand where technology is heading in hotel design, in 2019, Hotel Designs asked Bradbury to review the hotel 30 years in the future. “The technology in Eccleston Square is almost invisible, if you exclude the media lounge,” he explained, “which results in a seamless experience for the guests. However, post-pandemic, I wonder if in the future we are going to see more overt instances of technology [when it comes to cleaning], because that will make us feel safer as consumers.

During the seminar, Hotel Designs LIVE featured a PRODUCT WATCH segment, which allowed the audience to hear from key-industry suppliers within within the technology sphere to ultimately find out about the latest innovations and products that have appeared on the hotel design scene recently.

Below is the full seminar (in two parts), with PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Technological Innovations Group, NT Security, Air Revive and Aqualisa.

In part two (see below), Bradbury continued to explore, through technology lenses, what he believes will likely be the hotel of the future. In addition, he answered some tough questions on which piece of technology he believes should never have been invited, what tech item he simply cannot live without and how long he could go living without technology…

Born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis, Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technology Innovations Group, is Hotel Designs’ way to simply, meaningfully and virtually keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing. Bradbury’s future-gazing session, where he predicted technology’s evolution in the hotel experience, kickstarted a full day of insightful talks and panel discussions on topics such as Public Areas, Sleep and Wellness, which will all be published shortly.